A food writer named Tiffany Leigh elicited a mixed reaction on social media after she revealed she started feeding crickets to her 18-month-old daughter. In an essay published on Insider, Leigh explains how she introduced insects into her daughter’s diet.

To her surprise, her daughter actually loved eating them and continues to enjoy them as a snack or meat alternative. Not only does it save the family money, it also opened the door for Leigh’s child to enjoy a healthy, if not exactly conventional, new food.

Food writer feeds crickets to her infant daughter

Off the bat, Leigh lets us know she’s no stranger to entomophagy, which is basically a fancy word for eating bugs. She’s tried scorpions, tarantulas, crickets, and ants, among others. Overall, Leigh enjoyed the ways different cultures used insects as an ingredient and thoroughly enjoyed eating them.

Naturally, Leigh’s enthusiasm for food trickled down to her daughter, who wholeheartedly accepted crickets as a new part of her diet. Because she’s at an age where new foods aren’t so scary, Leigh thought it best to experiment with crickets now before it was too late.

Citing a pediatric dietician and nutritionist named Venus Kalami, Leigh insists that insects actually have some surprising nutritional benefits. According to Kalami, “Many insects are packed with key nutrients like high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, minerals like iron and zinc, vital B vitamins, and more.”

According to Leigh, two tablespoons of ground-up cricket powder has 100% of the daily protein a baby of her age and size needs. Kalami adds to that, saying that the nutrients found in insects help with neurocognitive development and boost a baby’s immune system.

Many cultures incorporate insects into their recipes

Additionally, insects are a common snack around the world. The United States is one of the few countries that doesn’t regularly incorporate insects into our food. Not intentionally, at least. The truth is, we eat insects all the time without even knowing it.

An article from US News & World Report confirms bugs are part of a balanced diet in countries around the world, including Australia, Thailand, Mexico, and Brazil. Sure, some Americans go for the lollipops with the scorpions in them, but mostly, we’re content to keep bugs out of the food pyramid.

In Mexico alone there’s fried or roasted chapulines, quesadillas con chapulines, tacos de chapulines, and much more. In fact, Latin American countries often use worms, crickets, and scorpions in otherwise standard dishes.

However, social media’s not too sure about this one…

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, some people on social media insist that crickets are not a suitable food for a baby. In fact, some people are even calling to have this woman’s child taken away from her.

Some people just thought it was kind of gross.

For the most part, however, people chimed in to say that crickets and other insects are crucial to cuisines all over the world.

Some went so far as to point out the hypocrisy of not eating insects but still eating the equivalent of ocean insects like shrimp and prawns.