A great parenting event is introducing babies to new foods. Parents who love sushi may wonder if avocado sushi can be offered to babies too. Avocado sushi does not have the same ingredients as some other types of sushi, so it can be a reasonable option for some. This post goes into detail about what to think about when offering avocado sushi to babies, what other vegetable sushi rolls to consider, and finally which seafood-based sushi is great for babies as well as which sushi should be avoided.
Briefly though, let’s focus on avocado sushi.
Avocado sushi is a fine option for babies who can safely handle the texture of sushi rolls. The risk is choking, not the ingredients themselves.
So, it may not be the perfect food for a baby still figuring out purees, but an avocado sushi roll is a great choice for babies doing well with other finger foods.
Why is avocado sushi a good option for babies?
Let’s break it down. What exactly is sushi? Sushi is a Japanese food that usually consists of sticky rice and various other ingredients, often including seaweed in the form of a paper textured-like food called nori.
So, an avocado sushi roll may typically include:
- Sticky rice
- +/- Seaweed wrap (nori)
- +/- Sugar
Those ingredients (especially the avocado) are fine for most babies. As I discussed in this post about solid foods, it’s great to try to introduce babies to the foods you normally eat.
And, avocados are excellent sources of fat (so important for babies), fiber, and vitamins.
But, when it comes to avocado sushi rolls, the texture and choking risk must always be at the forefront.
Each parent knows best what their child can handle. This may depend on whether their baby started on pureed baby foods or introduced foods in a “baby led weaning” style.
Age at which many babies can tolerate the texture of avocado sushi
For many babies that start on purees, they may be ready for more finger foods (like scrambled eggs or bits of avocado sushi rolls) around age 9 months. They shouldn’t put an entire roll in their mouth, of course. However, they can break it up with their fingers and take little bites. Just like with any feeding, babies should always eat seated and with an adult supervising.
And yes, we recommend avoiding excess salt in a baby’s diet. Even though sushi rolls include salt, it’s unlikely they’ll get too much from a few bites.
What about other fruit and vegetable sushi rolls for babies?
Sushi rolls come in many varieties! And any that include only fruits or vegetables are a-okay for babies as long as the texture is suitable. Again, in these cases, we need to think more about choking than ingredients.
So, a cucumber sushi roll where the cucumber is sliced very thin and it gets kind of mushy around the cucumber seeds? It’s probably okay for many babies who already eat solid finger foods. But sushi with raw crunchy carrot sticks inside? It may be a little trickier for the babies who don’t have teeth and just gum their foods.
When in doubt, a parent can just break apart the sushi roll and offer the parts they know their baby can handle. It might help some babies to separate the nori (seaweed) from the rest of the roll.
There are many other vegetarian sushi options for babies. Some prefer sushi rolls with sweet potato or tofu. Parents can feel confident in offering these ingredients to their little ones when their babies can safely gum or chew the specific texture of that specific sushi roll.
(See this post on why some like to offer as many different kinds of “plants” to their children to eat).
A big part of tasting new foods is exposure, so even those tiny tastes can have a lasting impact on a baby’s palate.
Can babies have sushi rolls with cooked fish?
If a sushi roll is made with fish low in mercury and the fish is cooked (not raw sashimi), then this is another wonderful option for babies and young children.
And, many parents prefer cooked sushi due to lower risk of food-related illnesses in their children. (More on this in the next section).
Some examples of low mercury seafood commonly found in sushi include:
These foods are also excellent sources of nutrition for babies and children. They provide protein, important omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and other vitamins.
So, sushi rolls with low-mercury cooked seafood are also fine for babies when they can do well with the texture of the sushi rolls (rice and fish included).
Why choose low mercury seafood for sushi rolls for kids and babies?
Because mercury can harm brain development, it’s recommended to avoid high-mercury fish in sushi rolls for their babies and young children. This chart allows for a quick skim of mercury content in different types of seafood. Some that are high in mercury include types of tuna (common in sushi) and swordfish.
Can babies have sashimi or raw fish in their sushi rolls?
Many healthy adults consider restaurant sashimi (raw fish) safe enough for themselves. However, people who have weakened or developing immune systems may choose to avoid undercooked (or uncooked) seafood. The risk of illness from the seafood is higher if it has not been cooked to a temperature of 145° F.
Babies are included in this group of people with underdeveloped immune systems. The CDC recommends babies and young children avoid all undercooked seafood, including sashimi and any sushi rolls that include undercooked seafood.
Summary: Avocado sushi rolls are great for many babies.
Avocado sushi rolls may be a fine option for many babies and young children. It’s important that they are monitored for choking hazard as the texture may not be suitable for all babies. However, if they can gum or chew their way safely through an avocado sushi roll, another vegetarian sushi roll, or a sushi roll with a cooked low-mercury fish: it’s a wonderful source of nutrition.
Maya Mahmood, D.O., F.A.A.P. is a board-certified pediatrician and mom. She is passionate about parents having evidence-based information to help their families be healthier.
This is for information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. See the full disclaimer here.
Photo by Ahtziri Lagarde on Unsplash