Can Kids Eat Sushi?

Is sushi safe for kids to eat

Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that has gained popularity in lots of other countries too. Typically, It is considered to be a healthy mea and is made from nori, rice, vegetables and raw or cooked fish, so this has led many parents to question whether it is suitable for children.

shrimp tempura roll is safe sushi for kids

According to the FDA (The United States Food and Drug Administration), raw fish or shellfish shouldn’t really be eaten by children below the age of 5.

Raw shellfish, in particular, is thought to be the most dangerous as it is the type of fish that is the most likely to be contaminated and this increases the risk of children suffering from food poisoning.

It is important to note that the immune systems of children younger than 5 are not yet fully developed so they will struggle to cope with this. Your child should be 6 years or older before they eat raw fish. If possible try and wait until they are even older than this. 

Cooked sushi is safe to feed to children who have transitioned onto solid foods. This is because when the ingredients are cooked they do not present as many risks.  My toddler loves California Rolls.

California Roll
California Roll

Making homemade sushi is a great way of encouraging your children to start eating healthy. The combination of vegetables, avocado, and cooked shellfish creates a healthy meal that is flavorsome but not too overpowering. 

Sushi is pretty easy to make. We recommend that you use soy paper to wrap the ingredients. Take some rice and spread it evenly along the soy paper. Wet your fingers before handling the rice otherwise you may find it too sticky to work with.

Finish by adding some chunks of avocado and cooked shrimp and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. You could even get your children involved in the preparation process, just make sure that an adult is left to cut it once it has cooked.

vegetarian sushi with cucumbers and avocado
vegetarian sushi with cucumbers and avocado

There are a few things to bear in mind before giving sushi to your child. Sushi is a food that has a high salt content and a lot of seasoning so it should be eaten sporadically as a treat rather than daily.

Many people who are new to eating sushi begin with California rolls or tempura. Both types are suitable for children as the aforementioned includes cooked crab sticks and the latter is filled with a paste.

If you have a child who is a fussy eater, you may want to begin by giving them vegetarian sushi. You can then familiarize them with the more basic ingredients and ensure that they enjoy these before moving onto the slightly more adventurous ingredients which include the fish etc.

avocado roll
avocado roll

Moreover, if you are giving your children sushi that contains fish, try to give them limited amounts due to the mercury intake. Tuna, seabass, swordfish, and king mackerel are most commonly used as sushi fillings, and whilst some are suitable for children, they shouldn’t be given in excessive quantities.

Out of all of these options, tuna is deemed to be the easiest to digest. Bluefin, has been known to contain traces of mercury. Babies and children, in particular, tend to be particularly sensitive to mercury and its effects. Because of this, Bluefin should not be fed to them in large quantities.

When considering whether sushi is safe for children, you must account for any allergies that your child may have.

Some children may be allergic to seafood, eggs, or soy which are often used to make sushi. Should they eat or come into contact with it, they are at risk of suffering from an adverse reaction.

Our verdict? Stick to a kids meal until they’re at least 6 years old.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has been an influencer in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. He not only loves to eat and drink at restaurants on a regular basis, he also knows the business inside and out.