Game Day

How to Eat Like Tom Brady

January  8, 2016

​When we think about athletes' diets (if we think about them all) for the most part, we're probably envisioning protein shakes and high-calorie—but fairly balanced—meals.

This is likely because we're more concerned with our favorite player's performance on the field than what he or she is eating (and perhaps rightly so). But, it's refreshing that the New England Patriots' quarterback, Tom Brady, has spoken out in the past on the importance of eating well. His diet was in the news again this week, when Allen Campbell, the family's personal chef, shared what Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, and their children eat—and don't eat.

Tom Brady would pass (eh, eh?) on the hamburger bun. Photo by Mark Weinberg

​Campbell typically prepares both lunch and dinner for the family, and the meals are seasonally-focused and vegetable-heavy—he says their diet is about 80% vegetables. Which sounds like a lot of vegetables. But after taking a careful look, we found that their diet isn't that limited—many of the ingredients even resemble our own pantries' insides, minus the caffeine altar and baking shelf. We're not suggesting you give up lattes or sugar, but if want to pretend you're Tom and Gisele for a meal—here's the nitty-gritty on what foods are in (and out):

What to cut out

  • Caffeine (Yup, sorry, your morning pot cup of coffee is out the window)
  • Nightshades (Farewell potatoes, eggplants, tomatillos, and peppers)
  • Fungi (No more truffles or mushrooms)
  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • White sugar
  • Cooking with olive oil (Raw olive oil is okay)
  • Iodized​ salt

What to keep

  • Vegetables, lots of them
  • Whole grains and legumes (Think brown rice, quinoa, millet, beans, and lentils)
  • Lean meats and fish (Like grass-fed steak, duck, chicken, and salmon)
  • Coconut oil
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • Fruit (The kids eat fruit, but Tom avoids it other than bananas in smoothies)
  • Tomatoes, in moderation (They're a nightshade, but are eaten about once a month or so)
  • Snacks (Campbell makes treats like dehydrated fruit rolls and raw chocolate chip cookies)

Ready to start eating like the Brady/Bundchen family? Here are over two dozen ideas to get you started (Not ready? Go eat cookies and coffee and eggplant):

Shop the Story

Note: To meet their exact diet, some recipes may require minor modifications, like forgoing a sprinkle of cheese, cooking with coconut oil instead of olive oil, or omitting things like peppers, paprika, or cayenne.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.