The Do’s and Dont’s of Eating Sushi While Pregnant

Eating sushi is normally a good thing but it can get a bit tricky to eat sushi when you are pregnant thanks to the changes that your body is going through.

What are the rules of eating sushi while pregnant? As much as possible, you should avoid eating sushi that contains raw fish while you are still pregnant. Going with options that contain only vegetables and fruits would be best. If you really want to eat sushi with raw fish, though, you need to make it at home so you know that its quality is good.

When you are pregnant, your diet can still include sushi, but you will need to be more careful with it because the consequences can be quite severe.

How to Safely Eat Sushi While Pregnant

Eating sushi while pregnant is not really something that a lot of doctors or dieticians would recommend without a lot of restrictions. After all, there are many ingredients in sushi that you simply must avoid if you are carrying life inside you. Still, it is also understandable that you would have cravings in such a condition. The question now, then, is how you will satisfy your urges.

We can start by identifying which issues come with eating sushi while you are pregnant. After doing so, we can conclude that you simply have to avoid such things as:

·         Raw ingredients

·         Questionable establishments

·         Unknown origins

·         Pre-packed sushi

From there, we can proceed to the things that you can do, which will then allow you to still eat sushi. The table below contains details as to what solutions are available to you if you are craving sushi even when you are pregnant.

Avoiding raw fishSushi can be enjoyed even without raw fish, shellfish, and seafood since all you really need is the rice that is flavored with rice vinegar and seasonings
Reputable restaurants onlyNever eat sushi in places you have never tried before and know is reputed for being clean and hygienic when you are pregnant
No mystery sushiYou must know everything about the sushi you are eating, from its origins to its makers, to its ingredients
Vegetarian or vegan optionsIf you really want to play it safe while eating out, just order the vegetarian or vegan sushi options since those will likely already be offered in most sushi restaurants
Freezing raw fishIf you simply must eat raw fish with your sushi, you will have to compromise by freezing it completely and only thawing it after four days
Homemade is bestFor the best option in eating sushi that will suit your needs or that of someone else who is pregnant, just making it at home would be ideal since you will control all the factors

It is worth repeating that you would do better to avoid eating sushi altogether if you are pregnant. You should be focusing more on fruits, vegetables, broths, and the like. There is just no sense in risking your health and that of your baby if you don’t really need to. Still, you can reduce the risks involved in eating sushi with the methods mentioned in the table above.

Then again, just because the risks are reduced, this does not mean that they have been eliminated altogether. If you still want to continue, it would help to look into those solutions a little more closely.

Raw Fish – This might be a dead horse, at this point, but it needs to be repeated once more. If you are pregnant, you need to avoid eating any meat that has not been cooked. This includes the fish, the seafood, the shellfish, and all the other meats that are used in sushi. However, there is a certain appeal that comes with eating raw fish that can’t be found in anything else.

With that being the case, those who have been enjoying sushi all of their lives would naturally have a difficult time giving it up, even after they become pregnant. You will need to do so, though, if you want to keep eating sushi. You can still enjoy the dish even with the other fillings that are not raw meat but are instead cooked or are made of vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

Restaurant – Eating sushi can be quite the experience to have, especially when you do it in an authentic sushi restaurant. However, there needs to be an emphasis on the “authentic” part because there are too many establishments out there that don’t adhere to actual Japanese cooking practices. Just because you are served food in the form of sushi, this does not mean that it is sushi.

More to the point, sushi is the kind of dish that needs to be handled well. If not, you are looking at a potential source of food poisoning. If you are pregnant, you must avoid going to new restaurants to eat sushi as much as possible. In the event that you have no choice but to eat out and end up in a new place, just avoid ordering the sushi.

Origins & Ingredients – On that note, restaurants are not the only places where you could end up eating strange sushi. If you are hosting a party and you end up finding a box of it without knowing where it came from or who brought it, you should not eat it. Eating mystery sushi is bad enough if you are not pregnant but once you are carrying a baby, the danger just intensifies.

At the very least, you should know where it was ordered and what is in it so you can decide whether it is safe to eat or not. Even if the specific piece you choose does not contain ingredients that could harm you and your baby, it might have already come in contact with pieces that did.

Vegan/Vegetarian – As for restaurants that you have already been to, there is a good chance that they offer the vegan or vegetarian sushi option since this is the US. With that being the case, it would be to your benefit to simply order those since they are pretty much designed not to contain anything that could hurt a pregnant person.

If you have never had them before, this could even be a good experience for you to expand your horizon for appreciating food. Sushi is just one of those dishes that is versatile enough to produce vegan options that even those who don’t subscribe to the lifestyle choice will enjoy. After all, there are sushi options that only control fruits and vegetables, and they are still fairly enjoyable to eat.

Freezing – Despite all of the warnings against eating raw fish if you are pregnant, it can’t be helped if you just happen to start feeling the urge to eat raw fish as a direct result of your pregnancy. It’s just one of those chemical reactions that are still not fully understood and not responding to that need might actually be harmful.

With that being the case, it might just be worth it to give in and eat sushi with raw fish meat but it should only be done after an appropriate amount of preparation. Firstly, the fish must be procured while it was still fresh. If the fish was still wriggling around right before it was cleaned and sliced, this would be even more ideal.

As soon as you get home, the fish must be frozen right away and you must leave it in the freezer for four days. This might seem excessive, but this is the minimum amount of time that is needed for parasites to die due to the harsh conditions. As such, if there were any harmful organisms in the fish when it was frozen, they will have already been reduced to safe levels.

To thaw the fish, it needs to be done in the fridge over a period of eight hours. It must not be left outside. Once the fish is nice and soft, you need to wash it in running water and then slice it as thinly as possible. After doing that, you can now use raw fish as an ingredient in sushi.

Homemade – Finally, as a final precaution against eating sushi that will result in clear harm to your body, you might want to make it at home. Doing so will basically allow you to take all of the necessary steps to make sure that it will be safe to eat.

If you have someone at the house who is competent at cooking and has had some training, this would be even better for you. As long as hygiene was prioritized during the process of preparing the sushi, you should be able to eat it with peace of mind.

Why Avoid Raw Food When Pregnant

When you are pregnant, you will be told by your doctor that you should not eat raw fish, meat, or seafood. Period. However, being the stubborn person that you are, you might wonder why this is the case. Why should you not eat raw fish when it is just so delicious that you would only eat sashimi if you had to give up everything else?

The most prominent answer there are health concerns regarding parasites, harmful bacteria, and digestive problems that can be caused by doing so. Starting with the parasites issue, it is a known fact that fish meat can often harbor the eggs of certain worms that managed to burrow their way into the little critters.

Fish is usually screen carefully so as to avoid such parasites from infecting people, but there will always be those that can get through. So, on the off chance that you manage to consume fish meat that hosts these parasitic eggs, you can end up getting really sick and might even end up in the hospital. You don’t want this to happen when you are carrying a baby.

Then there is the question of bacterial infection, which is just one of the risks that come with food. There are also chemical contaminations and even debris from some malicious or careless food workers. Whatever the case may be, you are facing some major dangers if you choose to ignore the advice of your doctor regarding eating raw fish.

Eating Sushi Outside During Pregnancy

Here is a little secret about restaurant sushi that you might not know. Many establishments don’t actually make their own versions of the traditional Japanese dish but rather, they order it from commissaries that also deliver to others. As such, you won’t really know if the sushi was made in-house unless you ask.

With this being the case, you will want to make sure that you are getting all of the information you need to decide if you are going to eat the sushi that is available in a restaurant. Among the things that you will need some clarifications with are:

·         Do they make their own sushi from scratch?

·         Do they have vegetarian or vegan sushi?

·         Was the fish frozen or caught that day?

·         Is their chef a real Japanese sushi chef?

Depending on the answers that you get from these questions, you might need to just pass up on the sushi. They might be tasty little treats but what would be the point of risking your health for something that you could have at home if you make it yourself?

More to the point, sushi is not exactly essential for your survival. If you can put off your need to have sushi just until your baby is born, then this is something that you will just have to do. It’s not as if you are giving up on sushi for the rest of your life. It will be one year, at the most, and after that, you can have as much sushi as you could possibly fit in your belly.

Related Question

Is It Ok to Eat Crab While Pregnant?

You can technically eat crab while you are pregnant but there will need to be some restrictions. First of all, you cannot eat as much as you want since crabs contain a lot of fat that could harm your baby and your digestion. Secondly, you cannot eat the cab meat raw, which some sushi recipes allow for.

What a Pregnant Woman Should Not Eat

There are many things that pregnant women should avoid eating, including raw meat, fatty foods, processed foods, preserved foods, and many others. As long as the item was made fresh with high-quality ingredients and is geared more towards nutrition, it can be consumed.

Cooked Seafood and Sushi

When people think of sushi, one might imagine a traditional Japanese dish that is made of rice with fish and dried seaweed, and such an example is certainly the prominent image of the food item. However, there are also many sushi recipes in which cooked food is used, either for the topping or for the filling.

Contrary to what a lot of folks might expect, there are not actually any rules that state that you can’t use cooked food items for sushi. As a matter of fact, many of the most prominent sushi roll recipes are those that call for grill squid rings, smoked eel, or even stir-fried spicy tuna. Those are just a few examples, as well.

There are a ton of others that can be found in many restaurants all over the world, with some even being unique to their particular area. It isn’t really any different in Japan, with some places even using preserved ingredients for making sushi. At the end of the day, you can make your sushi however you please. Whether you go for the raw or cooked route is completely up to you.

Vegetarian Sushi for Pregnant Women

You might think that vegetarian sushi sounds weird and might be a disaster of a dish, but that’s just the name throwing you off. There have been plenty of examples of both vegetarian or vegan sushi simply because sushi is such a versatile type of food. You can pair it with everything, from raw and cooked meats to only greens or seeds or fruits.

Fried eggs go just as well with sushi as raw fish eggs, and you can pair those with cucumbers with meat never even entering the equation. With this being the case, vegetarian or vegan sushi can be used as a means of eating only the sushi recipes that are safe for you to eat without the complicated exchange of information.

This is great for you since hardly anything vegan can be bad for pregnant women unless you actually subscribed to the lifestyle, in which case you will be missing out on some proteins. You need to balance your nutrition when carrying another life inside you, after all, and you will need meat for that.

However, the simple act of eating vegan food itself is a good way to avoid endangering you or your child with potentially harmful ingredients in certain cases. Hence, vegan sushi. 

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