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Adventurous kids and forbidden foods?

I am lucky, my daughter is nearly three and has been an adventurous eater her whole life (so far, at least, I am sure that could change any minute). We take her out to eat often and she eats whatever we eat. Her current favorite is mussels (she likes to eat "fish that live in shells") but she has had octopus, goat, alligator, you name it. We went out for sushi the other night and got her some miso soup and soba noodles while my husband and I ordered a huge sushi platter, honestly we did not expect her to eat it. Well she must have been captivated by the vibrant colors because she picked up a piece of salmon and ate it, thn proceeded all of the salmon roe and sea urchin/umi from on top of our roles. I thought it was cute and was proud of her for being so adventurous.

I was tellling that story to a friend of mine, and her mother in law chimed in and said that it was terrible I let my daughter eat raw fish and it's completely unhealthy to give raw fish to a child under 7. Of course, that comment has now made me paramoid! Is that true? I looked online and did not really find anything to support that? I want to ensure my daughter stays brave and adventurous but, of course, I do not want to risk making her sick. Has anyone heard this? Are there any foods thathould be avoided by children? I know there are rules surrounding when you introduce food to infants but I simply thought that three is old enough to try anything.

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  1. While I have little doubt that you may be presented with stories of potential allergies or suggestions of terrors hiding in raw fish, it seems your daughter isn't exhibiting any adverse consequences from the exposure. That adds her to those, like me, who began eating raw seafood at an early age and got to keep on doing it.

    I am curious though, why is it ok at 7? Does something magically change in all children on that particular birthday?

    2 Replies
    1. re: MGZ

      <I am curious though, why is it ok at 7? Does something magically change in all children on that particular birthday?>

      Maybe the change is in the parents, rather than the children. As in, after seven years, you realize that your kid is tough enough to deal with some challenges, dietary and otherwise. (Just throwing that out there, as a childless person who knows nothing about these matters.)

      1. re: MGZ

        I'm agree with MGZ. She did not have any adverse effects. People are built differently and she seems fine.

        I see plenty of kids these days eating sushi with their parents at ages younger than seven. Of course moderation is key but I see no problem with her eating sushi or raw fish.

      2. If you're worried, talk to your pediatrician...and even then, I wouldn't be too fussed...somehow the Japanese survive to adulthood on a diet that includes lots of raw fish.

        1. I have a similarly adventurous eater, although she is now 10. Mussels was her favorite, too, at 3 and still is. There are few foods she won't eat, although like most people she has preferences. I truly believe that one contributing factor (aside from personality) is that we exposed her to all sorts of food from the time she was eating solids. That includes sushi (the rice) and sashimi (the raw fish). She eats all sorts of dishes with cooked and uncooked seafood. The caution is mercury levels and other heavy metals/contaminants. We are careful with both cooked and uncooked fish in regards to this. It doesn't just apply to raw fish. Good luck!

          1. I also did a search, and yes, nothing is really concrete. Main warning are Mercury poisoning, which may come into play if your child was eating sushi with a possible mercury content in large amounts over a period of time. In adults, at least in the USA, it seems that eating sushi that may have mercury, that would mean 6 sushi meals a week. Since a child had a smaller body, the limit would be smaller as well. So don't make it a semi-daily item.

            The other issue that comes up is food poisoning. As this would affect you as well, knowing your sushi place to be well maintained and safe for you , works for your child as well. What might be a mild case for you, would be more harmful in a child.

            Other than that, I could find no recent data, most was anecdotal. I think the MIL of your friend was well, being a tad GOML and doing the urban myth thing. (does she eat sushi?)

            So, if you trust your sushi place and it is an occasional meal, sounds like you are good to go.

            1. If you asked your child's doctor, keep an eye on quality the rest is tolerating the advice of others who seem to know better. Great time to excercise your rights and instincts as the parent of your children. Chimers abound...especially if you give them the power to run your roost.

              Good luck, AmblerGirl!