If you’re interested in a protein bar that’s lean, sustainable, vegetarian, and gluten, soy or dairy free, here’s an option – cricket bars.
After hearing about these cricket bars I became intrigued and did a bit of research to pass on to you. The brand name that I have researched is called Chapul, and they are based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.
It seems that the founder of Chapul, Pat Crowley, started exploring the potential of insect protein as a solution to the over-consumption of freshwater for agricultural demands, which according to Crowley, consumes as much as 92% of all freshwater used around the world. He states that insects convert grain and grass into edible protein as much as 10 times more efficiently as cows and pigs, and are both rich in key nutrients such as omega-3 acids and low in fat. Apparently the US and Europe are two if the few countries at don’t indulge in eating insects…probably because we don’t have to and we have been raised to think of bugs as disgusting.
According to Chapul, insects have 15% more iron than spinach, two times more protein than beef, and as much vitamin B12 as salmon, all while using less water resources. I’m sure they are nowhere near extinction either.
Chapul makes their own cricket flour by roasting and grinding the crickets. They then incorporate the flour with natural ingredients such as organic honey, peanuts, oats, flax seed & coffee.
Nutritionally speaking, the table below doesn’t seem to pose any glaring differences between Chapul, commercial protein bars, or homemade bars. The exception is in the sodium levels, but I’m not really sure this concerns everyone, especially if we want to replace sodium when we are climbing in the heat.
Now for the taste test!
In conclusion, the cricket flour bars are tasty, 100% organic and they are a nice size to fit in your pack or a pocket. They are not chocolate-coated, so they won’t melt in your hand. The price seems to be high compared to other bars. When you can get a Clif bar with organic ingredients for $1.00 on sale, it seems difficult to justify the $3.50 that these bars currently demand. Yes, I know it can save on greenhouse gas emissions, but how many protein bars have animal products in them and, besides that, I’ve read that raising crickets involved a lot of water.
That being said, for myself, I would choose one of the more commercial bars mostly based on price point and the fact that I have a bit of a yuck factor in the whole cricket four idea. Where to get Chapul bars? They are carried at a small number of health food and outdoor shops, but you can also buy them online at: www.chapul.com
Ideally, I would make my own protein bars. It’s easy, rewarding, and tastes good too. So, for you foodies, here is a simple recipe you can make at home.
Banana Oat Protein Bars
- 3-1/2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup honey or agave
- 2 scoops (each scoop is about 4 tbsp.) protein powder
- 1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
- 1 T cinnamon
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup juice – almost any kind will do. I squeezed the juice out of an orange that was hanging around. I wouldn’t recommend grape or tomato juice though.
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped dried fruit (raisins, cherries, craisins, etc.)
- 1 large banana, mashed
Mix the oats, honey or agave, protein powder, dry milk, and cinnamon in a large bowl
In a separate bowl mix the egg whites, juice, vanilla, dried fruit, and banana
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined
Shape into 12 bars on a lightly oiled cookie sheet
(shaping can be sticky; using a wet offset spatula simplifies the process)
Bake at 325°F for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom
When they’re done, take them out of the oven and let them cool