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Dancing With The Stars‘ dance pro Jenna Johnson says that it took trying “literally everything” in order to find the right healthy diet for her.
“I ended up gaining a bunch of weight on a vegetarian diet,” Jenna tells WomensHealthMag.com. “I was so low in my iron and protein intake. Once I incorporated protein back into my diet, I started slimming down.”
The ballroom dancer—who is paired with Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon on the current season of DWTS—adds that her relationship with food has changed dramatically over the years. “I was scared of food and had a terrible relationship with it. I would cut something out and then binge on it.” She says that she used to be “obsessed” with sugar, too.
“Looking at food as fuel has been a game changer for me,” Jenna says—and the attitude shift has helped her find an eating plan that works. “For me, what makes me healthiest and happiest and most powerful is a happy balance of non-processed food and a lot of protein. I need it for recovery and for my muscle.”
And despite her natural sweet tooth—”I could eat chocolate for every meal,” she admits—Jenna says she largely tries to keep added sugars out of her diet. “When I eat a lot of sugar, I feel so gross,” she says. “You feel so heavy, and you don’t feel as energized.” Not exactly ideal when you have to pull off crazy-intense dance moves with a smile.
Here’s what keeps Jenna fueled while filming DWTS:
Breakfast: Eggs, eggs, eggs
Jenna hits the gym first thing in the a.m. (to avoid that horrible feeling of working out on a full stomach), and then she has breakfast. “I’m on a huge egg kick right now,” Jenna says. “I eat a few eggs, and maybe some bacon. I also love oatmeal with fruit,” she says.
One thing not on her morning menu? Coffee. Instead, she sips on kombucha. “I found out about probiotics and that’s a huge game-changer for me,” she says. “Kombucha is great for digestion—I drink it at the beginning of the day and sip on it all day.”
Lunch: Chicken and leafy greens
“I always try to have a solid lunch,” Jenna says—meaning she’s not about to sip on a protein shake or load up on sugary drinks during the day. “My mom told me not to drink your calories!” Jenna says.
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