Over the years, the cast of Dancing With The Stars has provided a lot of fitness and lifestyle inspo. Fans have turned to the likes of Julianne Hough, Cheryl Burke, and Britt Stewart for tips on exercise routines and how to stay motivated.
Along with their fitness advice comes dietary suggestions. And I don’t mean diet fads. I’m talking about ways to eat clean and have balanced meals throughout the day. Even more importantly, pro dancers like Sharna Burgess have talked about the importance of indulging, and Britt is all about listening to what your body wants. So, yes, eat that piece of chocolate cake!!!
The professional dancers have even passed their wisdom on to their celebrity counterparts throughout the years. For fan-favorite Kelly Osbourne, her partner’s recommendations led to a 20-pound weight loss and total lifestyle change. (More on that later.) And AJ McLean got a head start on eating for the job by adjusting his diet one month before his season started.
Some of the pros (and a few celebs, too) have documented what they eat on their Instagrams, so you can follow along on their nutritional journey. For some cast members, that means opting for easy-to-make meals (I see you, Lindsay Arnold), whereas others (*cough cough* Artem Chigvintsev) are waaaayyy more savvy in the kitchen.
All in all, the DWTS cast members’ diets run the gamut. Curious? Here’s what the cast (new and old) *actually* eats in a day.
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Pro dancer Witney Carson has tried it all when it comes to dieting. “I’ve done keto before, and I felt really gross,” Witney told Women’s Health. “I did lose weight on it, but my skin broke out. I have eczema and my eczema was super, super bad. I think I have an allergy to dairy and cheese, so I try to stay away as much as I can now.”
Now, Witney’s back to the basics. She eats a lot of whole foods and tries to keep a clean diet, which includes lean meats and minimal carbs. Her meals consist of oats in the morning to hold her over till lunch, when she has greens and protein. She gets an energy boost in the afternoon from nuts, a protein bar, or even plain turkey lunch meat. And there is one thing she doesn’t have for dinner: carbs.
Jenna Johnson, who made history this year as part of the first same-sex pairing on DWTS, had an awful relationship with food for a while, she told Women’s Health. After gaining weight on a vegetarian diet, she started incorporated meat back in, consuming more protein, and ultimately slimming down.
“Looking at food as fuel has been a game changer for me,” Jenna said. “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.”
The season 26 winner starts her day off with eggs, but ditches the coffee for kombucha. (Now that’s brave, IMHO.) For lunch, she consumes leafy greens with a side of protein, like chicken or shrimp. When it comes to snacks, she opts for nuts, berries, and the occasional hard boiled egg. Jenna doesn’t go without dessert after dinner (which usually consists of chicken, quinoa, and green veggies) and opts for dark chocolate or a vegan treat.
“I really believe in intuitive eating and listening to your body, and not in the fad diets that are popular in the moment,” she said.
In the morning, Britt is all about her organic coffee. Sometimes, she’ll follow that up with a green smoothie or yogurt and granola. When she’s burning calories during rehearsals, she’ll snack a couple times a day. In the morning, she reaches for fruit, while her afternoon snack is a little more savory (think veggie chips and hummus). For lunch, she keeps it plant-based with a big salad. Dinner is when she really listens to her body and what it wants—which can be anything from stir fry to a steak. Occasionally, she reaches into the freezer for a pint of ice cream.
Veteran pro Cheryl Burke shed pounds in 2014 following a very specific diet. During the pandemic, Cheryl talked all things fitness with Hollywood Life, including what she stocked up on.
“I’m totally addicted to Hippeas snacks. Also water, green tea and dark chocolate açaí and blueberries,” she said. “Whenever we can manage to get…pasta and marinara sauce, it’s a good day! Also, lots of greens for [husband Matthew Lawrence]’s reptiles, who are vegan as well, so they have to share their greens with me!”
Lindsay Arnold—who was paired up with Matt James in season 30 until their shocking departure—often shares easy recipes on her Instagram. This yummy summer salad is one of Lindsay’s go-tos. For breakfast, she opts for avocado toast and granola and yogurt with berries.
“Quick & Easy breakfast 🤗🤗 for people like me who don’t have the time *or the skill* for the fancy stuff 😂😂😂 but still want something that is tasty and good for you!!!” she wrote.
Sharna Burgess is all about having her cake and eating it too—literally!
“Wanting for yourself is human, WHICH YOU ARE, and as long as you move with kindness, courage and gratitude throughout life.. you aren’t hurting anyone by going after your own desires. Find things that make you feel good, and keep doing them. So… eat the [f—ing] cake 😘✨,” she wrote on IG to accompany a photo of her eating a nice slice of cake.
Two-time mirrorball trophy winner Peta Murgatroyd fell in love with cooking when she started a family with fellow pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
“I used to loathe it, because I never had to do it and therefore never had the passion for it,” she told People. “Now that I’m a mother and I am concerned with what my child is eating, I am more inclined to cook at home, to ensure I know exactly what’s going in his mouth.”
For breakfast, she takes her coffee with half and half and agave, and she has a four-egg omelet with goat cheese, five slices of smoked salmon, capers, and dill. Her go-to lunch is a salad with chicken, cucumber, flaxseed, tomatoes, red onion, dill, and balsamic vinegar dressing. As for dinner, she prefers a 5 oz., dry-rub steak with steamed veggies.
Former pro and judge Julianne Hough is always on the go—especially with her company Kinrgy. She maintains a balanced diet, but definitely knows when it’s time to indulge.
“I try to cut myself some slack if I’m being consistent with my nutrition and activity,” Julianne told People. “If I am craving a piece of chocolate I go for something dark to satisfy the craving.”
Julianne is all about hydration and drinks 4-6 glasses of water per day. She also incorporates two smoothies into her daily diet: one pre-workout and one as a snack. Her breakfast comprises of two steamed eggs over easy with tomatoes and avocados and a cup of English Breakfast tea. She opts for a boneless, skinless chicken breast over greens and veggies for lunch, and she rounds out her day with baked salmon, sautéed spinach, and a seltzer.
To keep up with his rigorous workout routine, former DWTS pro and current judge Derek Hough has to maintain his caloric intake.
He told Men’s Health that he has a “very L.A.-looking fridge.” It’s full of oat milk, celery juice, avocados, pickles, and kombucha. His diet consistently features chicken, fish, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables. Derek’s one temptation: movie theater candy.
In preparation for each season, Alan Bersten keeps a clean diet. That means “cheat day” is his favorite day.
His go-to meal is a carb-filled pizza with a lot of mozzarella, plenty of veggies, and sausage. As for his day-to-day indulgences, it looks like he’s a big fan of La Croix and orange juice, according to his IG. Wait, are those Fruity Pebbles I see?
Maksim Chmerkovskiy spent 17 seasons on DWTS and is now a judge on the Ukrainian version. The hunky Latin-ballroom champion uses his Instagram to document his journey with intermittent fasting.
“My 1pm breakfast 🍳 That 16/8 kinda life 💪🏼 Eggs, pickles, sourdough bagel, kerrygold butter, black caviar, coffee (w coconut oil & honey),” he captioned one of his posts. He loves to show off his breakfasts, late-night grilling, and incredible seafood choices.
When she was pregnant with twins, former DWTS pro Kym Johnson shared some helpful tips for those struggling with unhealthy cravings.
“My answer to that is simple: just indulge yourself,” she told People. “Don’t feel guilty or be too hard on yourself about your cravings. Balance out your cravings with healthy food. Try to stay away from processed food and meat or food your doctor has advised you not to eat.”
During pregnancy, she craved chocolate croissants, but her favorite meals include salmon, salads, and scrambled eggs. She loves snacking on apple slices, dried apricots, and Greek yogurt with some berries. She occasionally shares her eats on IG, including this St. Patrick’s Day frittata and a gorgeous charcuterie board.
Edyta Śliwińska may have officially exited DWTS after season 22, but she’s still dancing. That means she maintains a healthy diet—even during her 2020 pregnancy.
“I try to do something active every day. I’m putting in an hour a day of physical activity,” she told People. “I do a lot of cardio because it helps me with my energy. I’m eating really healthy and I’m feeling great.”
Season 29 newbie Daniella Karagach documented her morning on her personal vlog.
In it, she gets ready for her day, which includes downing a glass of apple cider vinegar mixed with water. She swears it’s healthy for you, but does not taste good. She typically follows that up with a bowl of oats, flaxseed, peanut butter, and coconut.
Former DWTS pro Allison Holker is running a household full of kiddos, and she’s teaching them all about nutrition.
“As a mom, I am always looking for new ways to teach my kids about the importance of nutrition and overall well-being,” she wrote on IG. Her page is full of fun recipes to do with the kids, like these fun treats.
As for her personal diet, Allison sticks to mostly veggies. “For the most part, I eat only vegetables and fruits and I drink a lot of water. I think for my body that is really the best fuel for me—I sleep better at night and I feel like my skin looks better because of eating vegetables and not eating meat,” Allison told Hollywood Life.
Anna Trebunskaya—whose last appearance was on season 21—maintained a balanced diet throughout her pregnancy in 2020, but she definitely indulged. “I really loved pickles and olives during my first trimester. Now I switched to more desserts. My go-to dessert is coconut ice cream vanilla flavor,” Anna told People.
She even takes her young ones apple picking.
Former DWTS pro Karina Smirnoff looooves seafood—and she even shared favorite recipes with fans. “I shared two of my favorite easy seafood recipes that give you protein for your fuel healthy muscle growth without those extra calories and fat!” she wrote on her IG.
They include zucchini swordfish and miso-glazed salmon.
Since ending his run on DWTS, there’s one thing known about Tony Dovolani’s diet: It includes ice cream. In 2016, he started supporting his friend’s ice cream shop, Double Twister, in Connecticut.
Not much is known about Keo Motsepe’s current eating habits, but he does chow down on salads in his trailer.
One month before joining the cast of DWTS season 29, AJ McLean did an overhaul on his exercise routine and diet. “I’m on a very strict diet, grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, no sodas of any kind, and completely sober for almost nine months,” McLean told Us Weekly.
Before stepping foot on the dance floor with partner, Cheryl Burke, the Backstreet Boys member dropped 15 pounds.
Model Christie Brinkley didn’t have to change her diet before going on DWTS, but she did have to change it after. When she broke her arm—resulting in an early departure and her daughter, Sailor, taking her spot on the show—the lifelong vegetarian briefly introduced salmon into her diet.
“I’ve added salmon because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help regulate inflammation that causes joint stiffness and pain and is also excellent source of calcium and vitamin D, which help to maintain bone strength and speed healing…especially important for me now!” she wrote on IG.
Kelly Osbourne placed third during season nine of DWTS and lost 20 pounds during her experience. But her diet did not match the exercise she was putting in at first.
“I’d fill up on French fries and pizza all day and wonder why I wasn’t losing weight,” she said at the time. “In the very beginning, I kept getting sick during rehearsals because I was eating such terrible, fatty food and feeling so exhausted.”
Her partner, Louis Van Amstel, introduced her to a high-protein, low-carb diet to help keep her energized.
Property Brothers star Drew Scott had to restrict his diet so much during DWTS that, after the finale, a celebration meal was first on his list. “We’re going to go out, and I’m going to eat a lot of food tonight,” he told Us Weekly. “I want a burger, a hot dog, and sushi.”
To prepare for DWTS, rapper Lil’ Kim signed up for the food delivery service Freshology and started tracking her caloric intake. After the show, she continued tracking, avoiding heavy foods, and staying hydrated.
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