Can Babies Eat Grits? When Is It Safe? [By Age]

Photo of author

Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

Published on

BabyFacts logo

Grits are a popular dish in the Southern areas of the United States. But is this corn-based dish safe and healthy for your baby to eat?

Overall, grits are safe for your baby as long as it is prepared in the appropriate consistency for their age. However, prepare your baby’s grits with less butter and cheeses to reduce the amount of saturated fat. 

Let’s discuss more about incorporating grits into your baby’s diet, the nutritional benefits and downsides, and more. 

Can Babies Eat Grits? Safety and Benefits

Your baby can safely eat traditional grits when they are at least six months old. However, if you make the grits a thinner and more watery consistency, the grits will be safe for your baby, who is between four and six months old. 

There are many types of grits, including stone-ground, quick, and instant. Stone-ground grits will contain the most nutrition because they have the least amount of processing. However, this type of grits takes the longest to cook and has a shorter shelf life (source: Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety). 

Hot bowl of grits with melting butter in a bowl

Grits are commonly served with butter, cheese, and milk. These often contain saturated fat that can be unhealthy for your baby. However, your baby can have cheese once they are at least six months old as long as the cheese is pasteurized (source: National Health Service [NHS]).

Pasteurization is the process of heating the milk used to make the cheese to high temperatures that kill any potential bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. 

Grits can also be high in sodium. A high sodium diet in infancy can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, later in life (source: Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism). 

Therefore, try adding less salt and butter to your baby’s grits to reduce sodium and fat consumption.

In terms of nutritional benefits, grits contain many vitamins and minerals, including folate and iron (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]).

Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen around the body. In addition, iron is essential for your baby’s growth and development because it helps them learn (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]). 

When Can Babies Eat Grits? [By Age]

Your baby can safely consume grits when they are at least six months old. At six months, your baby can typically tolerate thicker consistency purees, such as the normal texture of grits (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

homemade shrimp and grits

If you want to give your younger baby between four and six months, add more liquid to the grits to make them more of a thin and watery consistency instead. 

Below is a summary of this information (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

Age in MonthsCan Your Baby Eat Grits?
6Yes, your baby can have thicker consistency purees like grits.
7Yes, your baby can have thicker consistency purees like grits.
8Yes, your baby can have thicker consistency purees like grits.
9Yes, your baby can have thicker consistency purees like grits.
10Yes, your baby can have grits with soft chewable pieces of food inside, such as small pieces of tender meat.
11Yes, your baby can have grits with soft chewable pieces of food inside.
12Yes, your baby can have grits with soft chewable pieces of food inside.

When preparing grits, make sure the milk is pasteurized. While it is advised that children under age one should not consume cow’s milk, there is just a small amount of cow’s milk being used to make grits, and your baby is not using it for drinking. Therefore, it is safe even if your baby is under 12 months old (source: Cleveland Clinic).

However, you could also prepare your baby’s grits with breast milk or infant formula. 

Ensure grits are put into the refrigerator within two hours of preparation to lower the risk of foodborne illness (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]). If the temperature outside is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more, put the leftovers in the fridge within one hour of preparation.

I hope this article helped break down the safety and nutritional considerations of grits for your baby.