As with any sport, it’s important to give yourself energy in the world of gymnastics, but Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson East says it was a years-long journey to find the right balance (no puns) that worked for her.
“My relationship with food has evolved over the years,” she says. “I was on a restrictive diet for so long – so much so that I took it to the extreme and developed an eating disorder.” As part of her recovery, she started working with a nutritionist and found it so meaningful that she actually decided to study nutrition herself. “I’ve tried all the fads – raw food, keto, counting macros – and where I ended up being ‘everything in moderation,'” East says.
Currently pregnant with her second child (she already has a small child), East says her relationship with food has developed again; she eats for two these days. “I was afraid that with the pregnancy I would have a hard time nourishing my body, but I actually love it,” she says. “As soon as I got pregnant, I thought, ‘You know what, this is not just about me anymore. It’s about my baby.'”
She says she eats when she’s hungry, and if she feels like something, she gets it. “When I was pregnant with my daughter, I constantly demanded watermelon. But this time I’m pregnant while I’m also the mother of a small child, so I feel like I do not have time for cravings,” says East. “I often end up eating what she eats, like fruit and yogurt.” Want to see what it really looks like? Here, East shares what an average eating day looks like for her.
Keep reading to see what Shawn Johnson East eats on an average day while pregnant.
East says breakfast is her absolute favorite meal of the day. “I could eat breakfast at every meal,” she says. But she is also a routine creature and says she tends to alternate between the same handful of breakfast meals. One of her favorites is a homemade breakfast sandwich made with an English muffin, eggs and cheese. “I also like having a gluten-free English muffin with cashew butter and strawberry jam,” she says. “Try it – it will change your life.”
Watch the video below to see why a nutritionist calls eggs a “nutritional goldmine”:
As a parent of a young child, East says her refrigerator is stocked with snacks ready to eat. Open her fridge and East says you will find sliced raw vegetables, fruit cups and yogurt. In its pantry, East remains filled with snack bars – easy to eat on the go. “Often for a snack, I take a handful of berries and add it to yogurt,” she says.
Right now, she says her favorite yogurt is Harmless Harvest coconut yogurt ($ 1.52), which she advocates, a relationship that she says happened organically. “I wrote on social media that my daughter is lactose intolerant and she loves dairy products, so I was desperately trying to find a good non-dairy yogurt. I stumbled upon Harmless Harvest’s and it’s really good!” After she shared about it on social media, the brand approached her for a partnership. “It’s creamy and full of healthy fats. I do not feel cheated,” she says.
When lunch time rolls around, East whips up a classic dinner meal: a sandwich. “We make a lot of cooked sandwiches, often with fresh sourdough bread,” she says. East says she and her daughter both like grilled cheese with chicken or ham, with some fruit or vegetables next to it.
If East gets hungry between lunch and dinner, she munches on the trail mix – another snack that her daughter also loves. She likes to make it herself by mixing almonds, cashews, dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips. “It’s not fancy – it’s really just mixing nuts,” she says. Another snack she and her daughter both love is pretzels with hummus. Like the trail mix, it has enough protein to be a really filling afternoon snack.
As with many families, East says dinner is the joker meal in their house, but it tends to follow a standard formula with protein, carbohydrate and vegetables. “One of my favorite dinners is roasted salmon with broccoli and rice,” she says. Another dinner that is popular in her house is steak, sweet potatoes and roasted vegetables.
East says she was not always a dessert person, but she did become one the last few years. “My go-to is yogurt-covered pretzels,” she says. “Yogurt is really more like icing – that’s exactly what it tastes like.” She also has a sweet spot (literally) for cookies hot from the oven.
Oh hey! You look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts on cult-fave wellness brands and exclusive Well + Good content. Join Well +, our online community of wellness insiders, and unlock your rewards instantly.
Our editors independently select these products. If you make a purchase through our links, it can give Well + Good a commission.