How to Make Healthy Shrimp and Grits

There is no better comfort food than healthy shrimp and grits. Honestly! This Southern staple is simple, yet delicious and sure to be your go-to recipe when a comfort craving hits.

There is nothing better than healthy shrimp and grits. This Southern staple is simple, yet delicious and sure to be your go-to recipe when a craving hits!

LOVE me some Shrimp and Grits!

Not only is this simple dish amazingly yummy and robust with incredible flavor, but it’s also super easy to make.

The entire meal can be made in about 30 minutes which makes it a no-brainer for us when we have plump and ready-to-enjoy shrimp on hand.  And we intentionally have shrimp on hand.

We like our grits creamy and cheesy in our house because…well…yum.  And, really, why not?

So, I add sharp cheddar, whole milk, and honest-to-goodness butter to the grits.

Pretty much does the trick.

This meal will stick to your bones and keep you craving more once you’re good ‘n full.

So let’s look at how to make the healthiest shrimp and grits, delicious every time!

Close up view of a bowl of grated cheddar cheese beside a glass container of cornmeal polenta.


Shrimp is healthy, yes. It’s low in calories and a serving size of 3 ounces contains more than 20 minerals and vitamins. Shrimp also contains selenium, which is an antioxidant.

Some of the good things in shrimp are:

  • Iron
  • Protein (read more about protein here)
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin B12
  • Zinc
  • Niacin
  • Magnesium
  • Iodine (it’s one of the best sources and is excellent for brain health)


You’re looking at this recipe because it’s called Healthy Shrimp and Grits. And you want to learn how to make healthy shrimp and grits, so let’s learn about grits before you head to the recipe.

  • Grits are made from ground dried corn
  • To make my grit recipe, I use cornmeal polenta which is made from yellow corn (not to be mixed up with cornmeal)
  • You can also use grits, which are made with either yellow or white corn (grits are more processed than polenta)
  • Stone ground grits are the healthiest because they undergo less processing than instant or quick grits
  • Grits have iron, B Vitamins, and antioxidants
  • Grits are gluten-free but check the packaging to make sure they have not been packaged in a plant where there is the possibility of cross-contamination
Close up view of a bowl of cornmeal polenta with a measuring spoon in the bowl, and beside it is a bowl of grated cheddar cheese.


Shrimp and grits have a lot of ingredients that transform them from being tasteless to super tasty! I love that grits are easy to make and go so well with one of my favorite proteins, shrimp.

How to make healthy shrimp and grits? Gather these ingredients:

  • Whole milk
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Olive oil (read about the healthiest oils for cooking)
  • Unsalted butter
  • Yummy spices
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Large shrimp, deveined and deshelled


You can definitely make grits without cheese. If you are vegan or dairy intolerant and do not want to add the cheese, use a non-dairy milk like almond or oat milk. The butter can be omitted or replaced with vegan butter.

Nutritional yeast is a fantastic cheese replacement. It’s a bit nutty and crunchy and is quite like parmesan. If you still want the creamy cheesiness, you can use vegan shredded cheese.

Close up view of a white bowl containing Healthy Shrimp and Grits, with a blue pot of grits in the background.


You can store cooked grits in the refrigerator for about 3 days. To reheat, I do so on the stovetop. They may be a little clumpy when stored, so I add some water to thin them out and remove the clumps. It doesn’t take long. 

When I reheat the shrimp, I microwave them for just a few seconds. You don’t want them getting rubbery. 


Shrimp is such a tasty addition to grits. If you are a shrimp lover like me, you’ll want to see more shrimp recipes. Here they are!

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

5 from 1 vote
Shrimp and Grits Square Recipe Preview Image
How to Make Healthy Shrimp and Grits
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins

There is nothing better than healthy shrimp and grits. This Southern staple is simple, yet delicious and sure to be your go-to recipe when a craving hits!

Categories: Dinner
Difficulty: American
Keyword: grits diet plan, low calorie shrimp and grits, simple shrimp and grits
Servings: 4
Calories: 634 kcal
Author: A Sweet Pea Chef
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp plus 1 1/2 tsp plus more to taste, kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal polenta
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/4 tsp. pepper plus more to taste, divided
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter divided
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 1 lb large shrimp de-veined and de-shelled
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 squeeze of lemon roughly 1 tsp
  • 2 green onions optional, finely sliced
  1. Heat the milk, water and 1 1/2 tsp. salt in a deep, medium sized pot over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to keep the milk from burning the bottom of the pan.
  2. Once boiling, slowly add the cornmeal, stirring or whisking constantly to avoid causing clumps. Once all the cornmeal is mixed in, decrease the heat, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the grits are creamy, stirring frequently.
  3. While the grits are cooking, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large sauce or saute pan. Once hot, add the shallots and cook 1-2 minutes or until the shallots begin to sweat. Add the shrimp to the pan along with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Stir to coat the shrimp. Cook the shrimp, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until the shrimp begins to turn opaque (whitish).
  4. Tend to the grits for a quick sec. (See No. 5)
  5. Remove the grits from heat and add the pepper, garlic powder and butter. Once mixed through, slowly add the cheese, stirring to incorporate. Cover and keep the grits warm so they do not harden as you will want to serve them as soon as the shrimp has been cooked.
  6. To finish the shrimp, add the balsamic vinegar, squeeze of lemon and remaining 1 tbsp. butter. Stir to incorporate and remove from heat.
  7. To serve, place a healthy serving of the creamy, cheesy grits into a bowl and top with your desired amount of shrimp (I use about 5-6 per serving). Garnish with sliced green onions if desired.
Nutrition Facts
How to Make Healthy Shrimp and Grits
Amount Per Serving
Calories 634 Calories from Fat 329
% Daily Value*
Fat 36.6g56%
Saturated Fat 18.2g91%
Cholesterol 222.2mg74%
Sodium 1146mg48%
Carbohydrates 45.7g15%
Fiber 2.8g11%
Sugar 10.6g12%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 1800IU36%
Vitamin C 5.8mg7%
Calcium 420mg42%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Lacey Baier

Hey there! I’m Lacey Baier and I’d like to welcome you! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, as well as cleanish, my clean-eating supplement brand. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

4 thoughts on “How to Make Healthy Shrimp and Grits

  1. Making this for our anniversary tomorrow night. My wife and I both love shrimp and I am looking forward to it! Thanks for the great news letters!
    I will post the results tomorrow!

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