Thursday, January 6, 2011

Start the New Year Right with Shrimp and Grits Made Light

It is the time of year to set your New Year's resolutions into action. A popular goal for many people is to eat healthier, whether you are  looking to lose weight or just to treat your body better. Broad, long term goals are difficult to achieve because it is hard to stay motivated when the change that you yearn for seems to be nowhere in sight. The best way to reach your ultimate goal is to create short term objectives along with a personal reward system. All of your goals and objectives should be specific and measurable. For example if you want to lose weight in 2011, you should begin with objectives that you are confident that you can meet. You may plan to walk for 30 minutes a day, four times a week; cut your daily calorie intake by 300 calories; eat one serving of fruit each day; and cook a healthy meal twice per week. Once you have stuck to your plan, reward yourself with something like a manicure (not food). Then you can begin to challenge yourself by increasing the intensity of your objectives.

Many people dread healthy eating or dieting because of the foods that they associate it with. It is a common misconception that in order to lose weight, you must eat tiny portions that leave you hungry or bland meals of boiled chicken and steamed vegetables. I feel that many of my recipes offer people a way to enjoy the foods they love, while keeping calories in check. Inspired by my recent New Years trip to New Orleans, this post is proof that southern comfort food can have a place in your healthy diet. Shrimp and Grits is a very common dish in the lower states and is typically loaded with butter, heavy cream, and cheese. After swapping those ingredients for healthier alternatives, the dish was absolutely delicious. It was still creamy, comforting, and full of flavor- everything that Shrimp and Grits should be.

Shrimp and Grits
adapted from Cooking Light
serves 6

2 cups fat free milk
3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
2 tbsp light butter
3 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup egg whites (whites from 2 eggs)
1 pound peeled and deveined medium-sized shrimp, cut in half
1 tbsp light butter

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 11x7 or 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, combine milk and broth. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add grits and salt and stir continuously with a whisk for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Add parmesan and butter. Stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Add cream cheese, parsley, chives, garlic, lemon juice, and egg whites. Stir to combine.
  6. Transfer grits into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. In a large skillet, saute shrimp in butter until pink and done (about 5 minutes).
  8. Stir cooked shrimp into the baked grits dish.
Nutrition: 284 calories, 23g carbohydrate, 25g protein, 9g fat, 1g fiber, 6 weight watchers points



Anonymous said...

what a great, healthy twist on a southern fav! I've never actually had grits (due to it's unhealthy reputation...and I am from Minnesota, as far from the South as it gets!) but I love remaking traditionally unhealthy dishes to healthy ones!

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Nutrition student with a passion for giving yummy recipes a healthy make-over. Future RD on a constant search for the best food finds. And new blogger trying to relay my tasty ideas to everyone else.

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