How many calories are in cheesy shrimp and grits?

Quick Answer

The total calories in a serving of cheesy shrimp and grits can vary depending on the specific ingredients and amounts used. However, a typical serving of cheesy shrimp and grits contains around 500-800 calories. The calories come mainly from the shrimp, cheese, grits/polenta, and any oils or butter used for cooking. Exact calorie counts will depend on portion size as well.

Calories in Each Ingredient

Cheesy shrimp and grits is a classic Southern dish made up of shrimp, cheese, and grits or polenta. Here is a breakdown of the typical calorie counts for each main ingredient:


– A 3 oz (85g) serving of cooked shrimp contains about 84 calories (1).
– So 6 oz (170g) of shrimp would have about 168 calories.
– Many cheesy shrimp and grit recipes call for around 1/2 lb (225g) of shrimp. This would contain around 252 calories from shrimp.


– Cheddar cheese: 114 calories per 1 oz (28g) (2).
– Monterey jack: 104 calories per 1 oz (3).
– Parmesan: 111 calories per 1 oz (4).

A typical cheesy shrimp and grits recipe uses around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. This would provide:

– 1/4 cup cheddar: about 228 calories
– 1/2 cup cheddar: about 456 calories
– 1/4 cup monterey jack: about 208 calories
– 1/2 cup monterey jack: about 416 calories
– 1/4 cup parmesan: about 222 calories
– 1/2 cup parmesan: about 444 calories


– Cooked grits, quick (enriched): 111 calories per 1/2 cup (5).
– Cooked polenta (coarse cornmeal): 132 calories per 1/2 cup (6).

A serving of cheesy shrimp and grits may contain around 1 cup of cooked grits or polenta. This contributes:

– 1 cup grits: about 222 calories
– 1 cup polenta: about 264 calories

Full Nutrition Facts for Cheesy Shrimp and Grits

Here is the full nutrition breakdown for a typical serving of cheesy shrimp and grits made with 1/2 lb shrimp, 1 cup grits, and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 722
Carbohydrates 57g
Protein 54g
Fat 32g
Saturated Fat 18g
Cholesterol 255mg
Sodium 1118mg

As you can see, the calories add up quickly from the shrimp, full-fat cheese, and carbohydrates in the grits. This meal provides a significant amount of protein as well.

The specific nutrition totals can vary based on the exact recipe. Using low-fat cheese or milk in the grits would reduce the fat and calories. Adding extra butter or oils would increase the calories. But in general, a hearty serving of cheesy shrimp and grits contains 700-800 calories or more.

Calorie Ranges for Different Portion Sizes

The total calories you get in a serving of cheesy shrimp and grits depends largely on the portion size.

Here are some estimates for calorie ranges in different serving sizes:

– 1 cup serving: 500-600 calories
– 1.5 cup serving: 700-800 calories
– 2 cup serving: 900-1000 calories

These ranges are based on a typical recipe made with 1/2 lb shrimp, 1 cup grits, and 1/2 cup cheese.

Of course, calories will also depend on any substitutions made, such as using reduced fat ingredients or adding extra fats/oils. But the ranges above provide a good benchmark for how calories add up with larger portion sizes.

Ways to Reduce Calories in Cheesy Shrimp and Grits

While cheesy shrimp and grits is a high calorie dish, there are some simple ways to lighten it up:

– Use lower fat cheeses like cheddar, swiss, or parmesan. Avoid full-fat varieties like monterey jack.

– Choose low fat or fat free milk when making the grits.

– Limit added butter or oils when cooking the shrimp and making the grits.

– Use smaller or fewer shrimp. Shrimp is one of the higher calorie components.

– Use less cheese overall, or replace some with lower calorie options like Greek yogurt.

– Boost nutrition by adding veggies like onions, peppers, tomatoes, or spinach.

– Use lighter cooking methods like grilling, broiling, or baking instead of deep frying.

– Enjoy sensible portion sizes, such as 1 – 1.5 cups instead of larger servings.

With some simple substitutions and reductions, you can still enjoy the classic flavors of cheesy shrimp and grits in a lighter recipe. Focus on controlling portion sizes as well.

Healthy Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Recipe

Here is a healthier recipe for cheesy shrimp and grits to reduce the calories, fat, and sodium:


– 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 1 cup quick grits
– 1 cup skim milk
– 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
– 1/4 cup grated parmesan
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 lemon, zested and juiced
– 1 cup chopped tomatoes
– 1/4 cup chopped green onions
– Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste


1. Prepare grits according to package directions using skim milk.
2. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Season shrimp with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook shrimp 2-3 minutes per side until pink. Remove from pan.
3. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, tomatoes, and green onions to skillet. Cook 1 minute until tomatoes are warmed through.
4. Stir in cooked grits, cheddar cheese, and parmesan. Cook until cheese is melted.
5. Top cheesy grits with shrimp and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

– Calories: 567
– Fat: 12g
– Carbs: 71g
– Protein: 52g

This lighter take on cheesy shrimp and grits cuts the calories and fat almost in half compared to a classic recipe, while still keeping the satisfying flavor. The use of skim milk, reduced fat cheese, lemon juice, tomatoes, and green onions boosts nutrition as well.

Should You Eat Cheesy Shrimp and Grits If Trying to Lose Weight?

Cheesy shrimp and grits can absolutely be part of a weight loss diet, but portion control is key. Some tips:

– Enjoy it as an occasional treat, not an everyday meal. The high calories, fat, and carbs make it hard to fit in if eating it frequently.

– Pay attention to portion sizes. Aim for 1 cup servings instead of oversized portions. Measure out ingredients when cooking.

– Pair it with lower calorie sides like a green salad instead of even higher calorie options like garlic bread.

– Balance it out by eating lighter, nutrient-dense meals the rest of the day. Focus on lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

– Make substitutions when possible to lighten it up. Use the healthy recipe above as a guide.

– Watch your alcohol intake if enjoying it as part of a restaurant meal. The liquid calories in drinks like sweet tea, beer, or cocktails boost the totals even higher.

Cheesy shrimp and grits can absolutely fit into a weight loss plan in moderation and when attention is paid to portion sizes. Just be mindful of how often you indulge and accompany it with lighter choices.


Cheesy shrimp and grits is a classic comfort food that usually contains around 700-800 calories per serving. Exact counts vary based on ingredients and portion size, but the combination of shrimp, cheese, and grits adds up fast. To lighten it up, use reduced fat dairy, less oils, smaller shrimp portions, and more veggies. Pay close attention to portion sizes if trying to lose weight, and enjoy it moderately as a treat within your daily calorie budget. With some simple tweaks, you can still enjoy all the rich, satisfying flavors of cheesy shrimp and grits while controlling your calories.

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