10 Bugs and Things Kids Can Safely Eat

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While no parent wants or encourages their kids to eat bugs, the reality is that curious kids may engage in bug eating from time to time because they don’t yet know any better. Bugs from the wild shouldn’t be ingested for several reasons; they may have been tainted with insecticides or they could be poisonous, to name a few, but there are some bugs that won’t hurt your child if he does accidently ingest them. These bugs include:

  1. Grasshoppers: Eating chocolate covered grasshoppers is considered a delicacy for many people around the world.  And while they aren’t something your average American eats, they are available to purchase in the states for those who are interested in trying them. 
  2. Ants: These creepy crawlies are full of protein and since they look for sweet things to eat, they often taste pretty sweet when you eat them. That being said, if you happen to find the type of ant that bites, try to avoid eating the biting end of them or you could be in store for a painful experience.  If you eat ants’ whole, they tend to stick to your tongue and are hard to get down. 
  3. Crickets: These crunchy sources of protein are very edible and eaten worldwide, just not normally in the states.  Crickets are similar to grasshoppers but have a slightly different body style.  Beware; the legs can get stuck in your teeth. 
  4. Snails: Escargot is a delicacy that is commonly eaten in the states and around the world.  While we don’t normally pick them out of our own garden and just start snacking, they are edible both cooked and raw alike.  Like all bugs, they are a great source of protein and have a firmer texture than most other bugs.
  5. Worms: These wiggly creatures will keep you alive you if are stuck out in the woods without food.  They are best eaten while they are alive, and you can rest assured that they will not bite you or poison you.  Haven’t you seen the kid’s books about someone going to eat worms or frying worms?  Yep, it’s true that you can do all of those things with them.
  6. Termites: While they may not seem appetizing, it’s a fact, termites are safe to eat.
  7. Slugs: These fatty little bugs are full of protein and are pretty easy to find.  Apparently it’s not good to eat the heads, but the rest of the slug is okay to eat.  Some even taste like peanut butter, but their insides feel like snot.
  8. Maggots: These are the bugs that eventually turn into flies. They are white and slimy.  You can eat them safely, but they should be washed off first because they tend to hang out in some really awful areas.
  9. Centipedes: These long fellows are skewered and cooked in some cultures and eaten as street food. While they don’t taste very good, they are said to have healing properties.
  10. Cicadas:  Much like grasshoppers and crickets, these are edible and crunchy.  The insides are said to be like the white part of a boiled egg.

If your child eats a bug it’s always a good idea to call poison control (1-800-222-1222) just to make sure that the bug they ate is not poisonous. You’ll also want to know if there is any special monitoring of your child required and if you need to follow up with your child’s doctor.

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