Are you a breastfeeding mom who wants to know what foods to eat and which ones to avoid? Do you want to know whether your favorite sushi while breastfeeding is on the ‘safe to eat’ or ‘stay away’ list? Have you consciously stayed away from sushi while you were pregnant but are now interested to know if you can safely start eating it again?
If sushi is waiting to make a comeback on your meal plate soon, scroll down to find out just how soon you can start eating it, what to watch out for when it does.
Is It Safe To Eat Sushi While Breastfeeding?
The first rule to follow is to speak to your doctor about whether or not you can eat sushi during breastfeeding. As a new mom, it is important to make sure that whatever you eat has your doctor’s approval. In most cases, it is considered safe eating sushi while breastfeeding.
If your doctor does give you the thumbs up to eat sushi while you nurse your little one, make sure you only eat it from a reputable place. Here are a few tips
- Make sure that the restaurant you are eating at or ordering sushi from is a hygienic place. Choose a place where you have dined at earlier, as you will be aware of their hygiene standards. Also, it is always better to eat from a known place, as you will have lesser chances of picking up any stomach bugs if you did not get them the last time you ate there.
- Check that the fish looks fresh and is a sparkling color of white, not stale or creamy in color.
[ Read: Is Consuming Seafood Safe While Breastfeeding ]
- Avoid eating sushi that contains mercury-rich fish. Make sure you stay away from fish like fresh tuna, mackerel, tilefish, swordfish, shark, and mahi-mahi.
- If you want to eat salmon and your doctor has approved, eat wild or organically grown salmon.
- If you do wish to go with canned tuna and your doctor has said yes, go for the chunk light variety instead of the solid albacore one. The former has lesser traces of mercury than the latter.
[ Read: Ways To Control Food Cravings While Breastfeeding ]
Are There Any Health Benefits Of Eating Sushi?
Eating sushi does come with a host of health benefits, all of which you can easily enjoy at a popular restaurant or even at the comfort of your home. Once you check with your doctor and are ready to dig in, here are some health benefits of sushi that you can benefit from:
1. Low In Calories And High In Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Sushi is extremely low in calories, which means that eating a full plate will not leave you feeling bloated or add on those extra kilos. It has the goodness of omega-3 fatty acids that can prevent health conditions like stroke, heart disease and even arthritis.
2. Rich In Carbohydrates:
The rice that is a main part of any form of sushi is a rich source of carbohydrate. Sushi rice is also gluten free, so if you do use the original ingredients, it will also be a great alternative in case you suffer from any wheat allergies.
3. Anti-Bacterial Properties:
The rice vinegar in sushi has a great amount of anti-bacterial properties, which helps to keep your digestive system healthy and makes it run smooth. It is also quite effective in lowering your risk for high blood pressure while it also helps enhance your mood and makes you feel good. Rice vinegar is also good for your skin, helping it stay clear and youthful looking.
4. Ginger Acts As A Natural Antiseptic:
Sushi is almost always served with pickled ginger, and there is a reason for the combination. Ginger has strong natural antiseptic properties that help keep various health conditions at bay. Eating ginger will also help promote digestion and will keep you feeling light and your stomach happy. It is also good for the health of your overall immunity and will help to prevent any symptoms of cold and flu.
[ Read: Benefits Of Having Ginger While Breastfeeding ]
5. Soy Sauce Is A Rich Source Of Nutrients:
You may not know it, but soy sauce that is made using soybeans is rich in its content of magnesium, protein, iron and potassium.
Recipe Ideas To Make Sushi At Home:
Once your doctor has given you the go-ahead to eat sushi while breastfeeding, try out the following recipes to make some delicious sushi at home:
1. The Simple Sushi Without Mat:
You Will Need:
- 1 cup of white rice or sushi rice
- 2 cups of water
- 3 tbsp. of rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp. of sugar
- ½ tsp of salt
- 4 sheets of nori or dried seaweed
- 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, red pepper, avocado
- Soy sauce pickled ginger and wasabi for serving
- The first step is to prepare your rice. Rinse the rice in a strainer with a fine mesh strainer and keep doing so till the water starts to run clear. In a pan, add water and the rice and bring it all to a boil. As the water and rice, start to boil, reduce the heat to minimum and cover the pan. Cook for about another 15 minutes till the water gets completely absorbed, and the rice is cooked.
- While the rice is boiling, add the vinegar, salt and sugar in a small pan and heat it over medium heat. Make sure you keep stirring the mix to avoid it sticking to the pan. Keep stirring the sugar and the salt have completely dissolved. Pour this mix into a jar or small dish and keep it in the fridge to cool down, till the rice is prepared.
- When the rice has cooked completely, remove it from the heat and add vinegar mix that you had kept in the fridge to cool. Use a fork to mix in the rice with the vinegar mix. The rice will become completely sticky and also fully dry once you have mixed it properly. Keep it aside.
- Start preparing your vegetables by chopping them finely. Make sure you chop them into fine pieces, as otherwise they will not let you roll the sushi properly. If you want, you can try and chop them up in a food processor.
- Once you have done the above preparation, you have to start working towards the roll. Take a thick clean towel and fold it to make a rectangular shape. Put it on a clean and sturdy surface. Place a plastic wrap on top of the towel and then place a sheet of nori on top of the plastic wrap. Place some water in a bowl that you can dip your fingers in to. It will prevent your fingers from getting sticky.
- Dip your fingers in the water and pat out a very fine layer of rice on top of the sheet of nori. Make sure that the layer of rice that you make is not too thick, as otherwise it will not leave any place for the filling, and you will only be able to use rice in the sushi.
- Next, start arranging a single serving of the chopped vegetables or your preferred filling in a single line. Make sure to line it at the bottom ¾thpart of the rice that is closest to you.
- With firm fingers, start rolling the sheet of nori and the rice over using your fingers. Once you have covered all the vegetables or the filling that you are using, roll over the plastic wrap as well as the towel. It will help you to mold and compress the roll better. Keep doing it using the plastic wrap and the towel till you have completed making the roll.
- Now use a sharp knife to slice the rolls and set it aside.
- Serve the sushi immediately along with a dash of wasabi, pickled ginger and the soy sauce.
[ Read: Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding ]
2. The Salmon Nigiri:
You Will Need:
- 2 cups of seasoned and cooked white rice or sushi rice
- Fresh thinly sliced salmon – make about ten thin slices
- Wasabi to serve with the sushi
- Soy sauce to serve with the sushi
- Pickled ginger to serve with the sushi
- In a bowl, add some water in which you can dip your fingers while preparing the sushi. It will help you prevent your fingers from getting sticky.
- Once you have wet your fingers and palms, pick up some cooked rice in your hands and start rolling it into a small mound. Once the mound is nice and firm, place it on a plate.
- Add a little bit of wasabi on the slice of salmon and place it over the rice mound with the wasabi side facing the rice. The wasabi will help the salmon stick to the rice.
- Press the salmon slice into the mound of the rice to give it a nice shape.
- Serve immediately along with a dash of soy sauce and some pickled ginger.
[ Read: Risks Of Eating Shellfish While Breastfeeding ]
3. The California Roll:
You Will Need:
- ½ a pound of imitation crab meat
- 1 ripe but still firm avocado
- ½ of a medium cucumber – peeled and sliced into long julienne strips
- Toasted nori seaweed
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Sheets of nori
- Before you begin with the ingredients, wrap the sushi mat in a plastic wrap. Also, fold the pieces of the nori in half so that you can easily split them.
- In a pan, toast the sesame seeds on medium heat. Make sure that you keep stirring the sesame seeds continuously so that they do not get burnt. Stop toasting them as soon as they turn a golden color and make sure not to overdo the same, else they will turn a dark brown.
- Once you have toasted the sesame seeds, chop up the vegetables that you will use as a filling.
- In a bowl, add some water in which you can dip your fingers and palm before you use the rice. It will help you prevent the rice from sticking to your hand and will let you roll the sushi better. Now take a handful of rice in your palms and spread it on the half sheet of nori.
- Wet your fingertips again and use them lightly, spread out the rice evenly all over the surface of the sheet of nori, so that the rice completely covers up the surface of the nori sheet.
- Now very carefully flip the sheet of nori in such a way that the side with the rice faces down. Take the fillings that you have prepared and put it in the middle of the rice in the center of the sheet of nori. Do not fill it too much with the filling, as it will make it difficult for you to work with.
- Now start rolling it away from you with firm yet gentle motions. Take the help of the sushi mat as you roll the sushi out. Once you finish making the roll, sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top of the roll even as it is on the mat. It will make it easier for you to roll the sushi along with the sesame seeds.
- Take a sharp knife and run it through a damp paper towel just before you are about to use it. It will ensure that the rice from the roll will not stick to the knife and will make it easier for you to slice the sushi.
- Now cut up the roll in half and line up both the halves to slice a further number of 1-inch rings.
- Now take a sharp knife and run it through a damp paper towel just before you are about to use it. It will ensure that the rice from the roll will not stick to the knife and will make it easier for you to slice the sushi.
- Now transfer the sushi carefully to a plate and cover it using a damp paper towel. For the next step, take a sharp knife and run it through a damp paper towel just before you are about to use it. It will ensure that the rice from the roll will not stick to the knife and will make it easier for you to slice the sushi.
[ Read: Effects Of Eating Fish While Breastfeeding ]
4. The Spicy Tuna Roll:
You Will Need:
- 1 ½ cups of prepared sushi rice
- 4 ounces of sashimi grade tuna
- 3 tsp of Sriracha sauce
- 2 tsp of finely chopped green onions or scallion
- ½ tsp of sesame oil
- 1 sheet of nori – cut it in half crosswise
- 2 tbsp. of white roasted sesame seeds
- Spicy mayo to use for garnish
- ¼thcup of water
- 2 tsp of rice vinegar
- Before you begin using the ingredients to make the sushi, prepare a bowl of water in which you can dip your fingertips and your palm. Mix 1/4thcup of water and 2 tsp of rice vinegar and stir it properly.
- Next, take a bamboo mat and cover it using some plastic wrap. It will serve as your rolling surface.
- Cut the tuna into ¼thinch cubes.
- In a separate bowl, add the tuna, the sriracha sauce, 1 tsp of green onion and sesame oil and mix it all together.
- Take a sheet of nori and place it on the bamboo mat, making sure that the shiny side of the nori is facing downwards. Next, dampen your fingers in the bowl of water and vinegar that you had earlier prepared.
- Pick up the rice in your palms and spread ¾thof the rice from the cup on the sheet of nori. Make sure you place it evenly on the sheet. Once you have spread over the rice, start sprinkling the rice with the toasted sesame seeds.
- With firm fingers and while being very careful, turn over the sheet of nori in such a way that the side with the rice faces down. Line the edge of the sheet of nori at the bottom part of the bamboo mat. Now take half of the tuna mix that you prepared earlier and place it on the bottom part of the sheet of nori.
- Make sure you hold the bottom part of the bamboo mat and keep the filling in place by using your fingers. Now gently start rolling it tightly into a cylindrical shape.
- Lift up the bottom of the bamboo mat and keep rolling it forward. All this while, make sure that you keep a gentle pressure on the mat all the time.
- Use the knife to cut up the sushi roll in half and keep cutting each half of the piece further into three pieces.
- Place them on a serving dish and add a dash of spicy mayo on the top of each sushi. You can use the remaining chopped green onions as a garnish over the sushi rolls.
5. The Vegetarian Sushi Rolls:
You Will Need:
For the sushi:
- 1/3rd cup of seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 ½ cups of short grained sushi rice
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 4 sheets of toasted nori
For the fillings, you can pick all the below-mentioned ingredients or any three to four:
- 1 peeled, seeded and cut into matchsticks Kirby cucumber
- 1 peeled and cut into matchsticks carrot
- 1 stemmed, seeded and cut into matchsticks yellow bell pepper
- 4 trimmed and cut into matchsticks scallion or green onions
- 1 piece of peeled and cut into matchsticks daikon
- ½ firm and ripe peeled, thinly sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice hass avocado
- Place the sushi mat on a firm surface to make your rolling surface. Take a sheet of the nori and place it on the sushi mat, with the shiny side facing downwards. Now line it up with the closest edge of the mat.
- In a bowl, add some water in which you can dip your fingertips and palm before touching the rice. It will help you to prevent any rice from sticking on your hands and help you roll the sushi better and without much effort.
- Dip your fingers in the water and make your fingertips and the insides of your palm moist. Take about 1/4thof the rice and press it evenly on the sheet of the nori. Make sure that you leave about 1 ½ inches uncovered towards the far edge.
- Now take the fillings and line them up about an inch from the closest near the edge and make sure you spread it evenly over the rice.
- While you are doing so, make sure to leave about one inch of the rice uncovered at the far edge.
- For the next process, you will have to start from the edge of the mat. Beginning from the near edge of the sushi mat, start rolling up the sheet of nori very tightly. Make sure that you roll the sheet of nori, the rice and the fillings in a very tight cylinder shape.
- Once you have done so, tug with firm hands on the rounded mat over the roll even as you pull on the far edge of the mat to help make it properly tight.
- Next, open up the mat and dip your fingertips in the water. Gently dab the unsealed edge of the sheet of nori with the help of your moistened fingertips. Now very firmly start rolling the sushi forward till you can seal it properly.
- Cut out each roll of sushi with the help of a sharp knife and make the cuts crosswise, to help create eight pieces of sushi.
- Serve the sushi immediately with a bowl of soy sauce for dipping.
[ Read: Symptoms Of Food Poisoning While Breastfeeding ]
Make sure you speak to your doctor before trying out or returning to any form of sushi while nursing.
Did you eat sushi during breastfeeding? What was your doctor’s advice? Tell us below.
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