Are Grits Good for Bulking? (A Science-Backed Look)

Bulking up requires consuming 500 extra calories daily (it can vary by individual) from a mix of carbs, protein, and fats. While reaching adequate protein intake to bulk up in the form of muscle mass is necessary (30%, 1-1.2g/kg/bw), studies suggest consuming most of the calories from carbs (50-60%, 5-10g/kg/bw). 

So grits can indeed be a good part of a bulking diet, helping the process. They are high in carbohydrates and possess many other nutritional benefits that will help you gain more mass. 

Whether you’re an experienced ‘bulker’ or a newbie, this guide will give you all the information you need to know about grits. We will cover how, why, and when to incorporate them into your bulking diet to make the most out of it.

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Nutritional Profile of Grits

Despite being such a simple food, grits can be surprisingly nutritious, especially if you choose the healthier option and prepare them correctly, which I’ll explain shortly. But before we move on, here’s a breakdown of the macronutrients in a single serving of grit

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Remember, these percentages are based on a typical 2000-calorie diet.

NutrientAmount per serving (242 Gram)
Total Fat0.5g
Sodium539.7 mg
Potassium 50.8 mg
Carbohydrate 30.1g
Protein 3.4
Iron2% daily intake 
Vitamin B65% daily intake 
Magnesium 3% Daily Intake

A single serving of grits is about 242 grams, which comes to around one cup. This has only 143 calories but is high in carbohydrates. This high-carb content can provide the necessary energy and calories for your training and muscle recovery, aiding in increased performance and strength. Perfect for bulking!

Despite having a moderate protein content, grits can still add to your required daily protein intake for muscle gain. While their low-fat content helps manage overall calories during bulking, reducing the risk of gaining excess fat.

But don’t only think in calories, the vitamins and minerals are just as important, spiking up its nutritional value! Grits contain essential minerals like iron, and magnesium, which support muscle metabolism and function, and vitamin B6, which improves cognitive health, focus, and mood. Its sodium and potassium can aid in maintaining electrolyte balance, crucial for hydration and muscle function during intense workouts.

Though not a complete protein source on its own, when combined with other foods, grits contribute valuable nutrients that can support muscle growth and energy levels during bulking.

How To Choose The Right Grits For Bulking

While they are nutritious, not all grits are equal! The way they are manufactured can negatively impact their nutritional value. You should aim to buy the stone ground versions from whole ground kernels instead of the instant ones, as this involves the least amount of processing, keeping its nutritional value to a greater extent.

Moreover, their potential health advantages can diminish based on how you cook or prepare them, too. Traditionally they are made with calorie-rich ingredients like sugar and fat (bacon, butter, full-fat milk) that you should avoid too much of when trying to gain muscle and not fat!

Instead, opt for water, plant or low-fat milk base options and healthy toppings like roasted veggies, legumes, eggs, or even fruit (like a porridge). If you have a sweet tooth, add pure, high-quality honey or maple syrup as a topping instead of sugar. Prepare them with additional healthy food groups so all the macronutrients are covered in your meal.

Benefits of Grits for Bulking

As we mentioned above, a single serving of grits comes with 182 calories and 38 grams of carbohydrates. They’re also rich in minerals, vitamins, and healthy fiber that keep your body strong while working out.

 But that’s not all! Here are a few more reasons why eating grits is great for bulking up.

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Help Maintain Consistent Energy (slow-release, complex carb source)

Carbs are the main energy source of our bodies,- according to science. As a form of complex carbs from ground corn, grits provide sustained energy without causing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. This can help you bulking without excess fat and train hard. 

Speed Up Recovery and Muscle Growth

They also reduce protein breakdown, allowing your body to use more protein for repair. This makes them an excellent choice for bulking, with a steady energy supply while also promoting muscle growth.

Improve Performance 

Carbs are the quickest nutrients that your body absorbs and digests. They are converted into glycogen, not only helping your muscles to grow, but enabling additional reps during your workouts (increased performance). More volume, more mass! 

Grits are Healthy

There is a big difference between the nature of carbs that you get from grits and the ones that you get from a candy bar. Grits are whole grains (complex carbs), with high fiber content, while candies are empty calories with no nutritional value.

 That’s why it is important to look at the nutrients, not only the calories. Grits not only sustain energy and stabilize your blood sugar levels, it also improves your metabolism!


Carbs AREN’T BAD! Many people follow low-carb diets NOT because all carbs are bad, but because they can add up on the calories very quickly, if they aren’t sourced accurately (eating fast food consistently), or not finding balance in macros (protein, carbs, fat), fast and healthy food. This imbalance often leads to weight gain, mainly in the form of fat. 

 Everything in moderation!

Suit Different Types of Diet Plans

Grits are great, because they accommodate various dietary restrictions, including vegans, vegetarians, celiacs, and those with gluten intolerance.

However, If you’re gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, it’s essential to double-check the packaging, as some brands might not be safe due to possible contaminations during preparation.

It’s also important to note that grits are made from corn that doesn’t offer lysine and tryptophan amino acids. So, it’s important to mix grits with foods like peas, lentils, beans, wheat, and rice to get the essential amino acids.

Suitable On-the-Go

Grits, known for their affordability and ease of preparation. All bodybuilder’s dreams! They fit into an easy-to-prepare meal plan, without breaking the bank. You can also find multiple types of grits available in the market. Perfect for making tasty recipes at home, that you can enjoy anywhere!

Strengthens The Immune System

Grits, being rich in carbs, support the immune system. Studies indicate positive effects on the immune system when consumed during or right after exercise.

How to Add Grits to Your Bulking Diet Plan?

The fact that grits are simple and unassuming may leave you wondering how to incorporate them into your diet plan!

While they can be cooked on their own with some water, they are a lot more versatile than people give them credit for. Here are some of the best ways you can add grits to your diet plan:

  • As part of your breakfast

    Grits are often enjoyed at breakfast time, as this is a good way to start your day off with a healthy dose of carbohydrates.

    Consider enjoying your grits as porridge, or perhaps you can add them alongside some bacon and eggs for a well-rounded breakfast
  • As a snack

    Grits are extremely filling despite a serving being only 142 calories per serving. This makes them a nutritious and delicious snack option for you to enjoy mid-morning or mid-afternoon! 

    To keep calories down and nutrition high, consider preparing them in the traditional way with warm salted water or milk
  • As a side dish

    A good way to incorporate grits into your diet is to enjoy them as a side dish for lunch or dinner. 

    You can use them to stuff your favorite vegetables or substitute mac and cheese with cheesy grits for a healthy and nutritious way to ensure your meals are well-rounded and filled with healthy carbs.

Grit Meal Ideas

Unsure how to include grits in your meal plan? We’ve got you covered on that too! Here are our favorites!

1. Grits as Breakfast Porridge

Swap your normal oatmeal porridge in the morning for grits! Grits are higher in micronutrients, which is important to consider when you are trying to bulk up. 

2. Grits Casserole with Vegetables

Who doesn’t love a casserole? Take your casseroles up to the next level by making them with grits and your favorite in-season vegetables. 

This is a wonderful lunch or dinner solution that is hearty, filling, and delicious. 

3. Cheesy Grits

Combining grits with cheese creates the ultimate side dish for any meal. 

Cheesy grits are a much healthier (and perhaps even more delicious) substitute for mac and cheese that will fit into your diet plan while you bulk. 

4. Grits Pancakes or Waffles

Did you know you can grind down grits to make a flour-like substance that can be used to make pancakes or waffles?

Alternatively, you can add grits to your favorite waffle or pancake recipe for added nutrition in the mornings. 

5. Grits Bowl with Grilled Chicken or Tofu

Chicken or tofu rice bowls are extremely popular lunchtime meals, but have you considered using grits in place of rice? 

This is a great way to introduce an alternative carbohydrate source into your diet and keep things interesting in the kitchen! 

6. Grits Soufflé with Herbs and Cheese

A grits soufflé is a classic Southern side dish and a good way for you to incorporate grits into your diet. We love to make ours with herbs and cheese for maximum flavor. 

7. Grits Stuffed Peppers, or Tomatoes

If you want to take your vegetables up a level, why not stuff them with grits? 

Stuffed vegetables are a popular side dish around the world, and they taste fantastic when stuffed with grits. The best vegetables for this tend to be peppers or tomatoes, as they are the right shape to hold the grits.

Should I Eat Grits Before or After Working Out? 

Grits are a great source of carbohydrates, which means they can be eaten both before and after you work out. 

Grits offer an easily digestible energy source for your body pre-workout, providing the fuel needed for a safe and efficient training session!

Additionally, the carbohydrates in grits are broken down to replenish the body’s glycogen stores. This plays a crucial role in aiding muscle recovery, making grits an ideal choice for a post-workout meal, too.

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If you are serious about gaining muscle, then go with TestoFuel. It has been specially formulated to promote muscle growth.