Can Children Eat Sushi?

Today, we're going to tell you whether or not children can eat sushi, one of the most international Asian dishes. Keep reading.
Can Children Eat Sushi?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 08 January, 2023

Sushi’s one of the most popular Oriental dishes in the world. There are many ways to prepare it, and varieties to satisfy all tastes. However, it’s a recipe that has a certain microbiological risk. Therefore, we’re going to tell you if children can eat sushi or not.

The first thing to keep in mind is that this exotic dish shouldn’t be eaten during pregnancy. Raw fish could contain microorganisms that could endanger the survival of the fetus. Food poisoning in this context is considered particularly dangerous.

At what age can children eat sushi?

It’s important to wait until children’s immune systems are fully developed before they can include sushi in their diet. Otherwise, they could experience an infection by microorganisms that could cause serious damage. It’s estimated that, from the age of 5, a child’s defense mechanisms are fully functional. So, at this time, the child will be able to try sushi made with raw fish. Before this date, you’ll need to resort to versions of sushi that don’t contain raw fish if you want to offer this type of food to your little one.

At the same time, you must take into account that sushi’s usually served with a paste that has a very spicy flavor, which is known as wasabi. This food isn’t recommended for children either, as it could cause irritation and burning in the nostrils. It’s too strong a product to eat during the first stages of life.

A young girl trying sushi.
Sushi contains vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to improving cardiovascular health and preventing certain diseases.

The benefits of sushi

Despite being a delicate dish from the point of view of food hygiene, sushi has certain health benefits when it’s introduced into the context of a balanced and varied diet. However, fried and battered versions should be avoided, as they can accumulate trans fatty acids.

Sushi improves cardiovascular health

Sushi’s usually made with oily fish, such as salmon. This product contains a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. These elements have been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health due to their anti-inflammatory effect. In this regard, they reduce the risk of experiencing atherosclerosis.

Sushi prevents thyroid gland diseases

To ensure the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, it’s important to make sure that the dietary intake of iron and iodine is correct. This is evidenced by research published in the journal Biological Trace Element Research. You should take into account that if your iodine intake is insufficient, hypothyroidism could develop, which could affect the metabolism and the state of body composition.

Sushi provides quality energy

The central element of sushi, in addition to fish, is rice. This product is a source of high-quality carbohydrates with a low glycemic index. Therefore, it’s excellent for ensuring that energy levels are kept high, which is absolutely crucial for people who frequently engage in physical activity–like children!

In fact, root vegetables, legumes, and rice are the best sources of carbohydrates in the diet. For this reason, they’re always a preferable option over pasta, as this food contains highly refined flours that have a significant impact on blood glucose levels. In the medium term, they could negatively condition metabolism function.

Children under the age of five shouldn't eat sushi if it contains raw fish.
It’s best to avoid offering sushi to children under 5 years of age, as they could suffer from microorganism infections. Another option would be to prepare it without raw fish, which can be replaced by surimi.

From the age of 5, children can eat sushi

As we’ve already mentioned, children can start to eat sushi once they reach the age of 5. However, it’s better to wait a little longer to serve them spicy condiments, such as wasabi. Before this time, it’s best to avoid dishes with raw fish in them to reduce the risk of them developing an infection due to microorganisms.

In any case, keep in mind that sushi can be prepared in many different ways. It’s possible to prepare this dish without raw fish and replace it with surimi or some other fish protein derivative. In these cases, there are no problems related to food hygiene that could affect the health of the child, so it’s a food that’s totally suitable for consumption at any stage of life.

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  • Innes, J. K., & Calder, P. C. (2020). Marine Omega-3 (N-3) Fatty Acids for Cardiovascular Health: An Update for 2020. International journal of molecular sciences21(4), 1362. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041362
  • Luo, J., Hendryx, M., Dinh, P., & He, K. (2017). Association of Iodine and Iron with Thyroid Function. Biological trace element research179(1), 38–44. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-017-0954-x

The contents of You Are Mom is for educational and informational purposes only. At no time do they replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. If in doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.