“My general philosophy is to eat healthy 80 percent of the time, but allow for cravings,” she tells PEOPLE. “I never skip breakfast, I try to have a salad as at least one of my meals each day, and I cook at home as much as possible. My rule is one drink or one dessert almost every night so I don’t feel completely deprived.”
And the 5’5″ Johnston has picked up a few tricks for making it through each busy day without sacrificing health.
“Between medical school and the Olympics, I’m crunched for time, so I always make extra servings that I can eat as leftovers the next day,” says Johnston, 26. “I love finding recipes that take a healthy twist on my favorite foods.”
Of course, a few junk foods do slip in from time to time. “My favorite cheat food is pizza rolls!” she admits.
Check out her daily food log below, and pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now, to read more about Johnston’s diet.
56 oz. of water a day
Avocado toast made with 1 whole-wheat, high-fiber English muffin and ½ an avocado, seasoned with Himalayan salt and drops of Frank’s RedHot Sauce
16 oz. iced coffee with a splash of creamer
2 zucchini boats made by scooping out a zucchini with ⅓ lb. ground turkey cooked with taco seasoning, and topped with lettuce, salsa and low-fat shredded cheese
WATCH: Meet the High School Runner Who Will Be the Youngest Track Athlete to Compete in the Olympics Since 1972
Apple with 1 tbsp. of crunchy peanut butter
Rosemary chicken salad with ½ lb. of chicken seasoned with rosemary, 2 strips of bacon, crumbled, 2 cups of mixed greens, ¼ cup of chopped cherry tomatoes, ½ an avocado, sliced, and 1 tbsp. of homemade rosemary vinaigrette
Margarita, made with 1 ½ oz. tequila, 1 oz. triple sec, 1 oz. lime juice, ½ oz. orange juice, and a small splash of agave nectar
Johnston has a great, diverse mix of proteins, carbs and vegetables throughout the day, says dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, but she could add about 300-500 calories to her diet. “Overall, Abby’s daily calories are too low for the amount of training she’s doing.” Johnston’s morning coffee is “a great superfood for athletes, with antioxidants and caffine for a competitive edge,” but she should ditch the creamer, which is filled with artificial ingredients, for vitamin D-filled whole milk. Her lunch is “awesome in protein and veggies,” but this would be a great place to add healthy grains like brown rice or quinoa to boost her calories. Blatner loves her “powerful snack duo” of produce (“which gives you vitamins and minerals”) plus protein (“which keeps you full”). Dinner also gets high marks for the veggies with tons of flavor, but Johnston could again add some healthy carbs. And Blatner give a big thumbs up to her well-thought-out dessert. “Love this, since it doesn’t use high-sugar mixers!”
NOTE: It is recommended that women eat at least 1,200 calories per day, and men eat at least 1,800 calories per day.
To learn more about all Olympic hopefuls, visit teamusa.org. The Rio Olympics begin August 5 on NBC.
With reporting by ROSE MINUTAGLIO