NFL star Tom Brady shared the meal plan he uses for his game-days. It's low on carbs, high in protein.
His meal plan involves an 80% emphasis on vegetables for pre-game and post-game dinners.
He starts his day with a fruit smoothie and has some celebratory chocolate after a game.
Tom Brady currently leads the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns, and he's doing it all at the age of 44.
The food he's eating before and after each game is a critical part of how he's maintained that performance, according to a post on TB12.com, his personal wellness brand founded by him and his body coach Alex Guerrero.
Brady shared the game-day meal plan he uses to stay nourished and ready to go each Sunday, and it involves an emphasis on vegetables, very few carbs, and even some chocolate.
Brady's pre-game dinner is 80% plant-based
Brady's game day meal plan starts the night before a game with his pre-game dinner. He follows an 80/20 rule - meaning 80% of his dish is plant-based, made up of vegetables or rice and grains.
The remaining 20% of his dinner consists of lean protein, like wild-caught fish or organic chicken.
Gameday morning is time for Brady's smoothie, but he has a full breakfast too
Brady starts the morning of a game the same way he starts every morning: with his favorite high-protein, lactose-free breakfast smoothie.
The smoothie contains, almond milk, hemp milk, bananas, blueberries, walnuts, chia seeds, almond butter, and whey protein powder. In addition to protein, the smoothie ingredients are loaded with nutrients like vitamins A, D, and E, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc, which help reduce inflammation.
Brady also has a full breakfast of eggs and avocados before heading out to prepare for the game.
Eggs are a good source of protein, while avocados have healthy fats to support heart health and cholesterol.
Brady has one more leafy meal before game action
Brady caps off his pre-game meal plan with a kale caesar salad with crunchy chickpeas, and a protein shake. He also drinks a bottle of water infused with electrolytes, which are designed to aid hydration, before embarking on three hours of football.
Kale is packed with minerals like iron, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, and tons of fiber. One serving has over 450% of your daily value of vitamin K. Kale is also high in phytochemicals, compounds that reduce inflammation.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are legumes. They're a good source of protein, carbs, fiber, and healthy fats. They are also high in calcium, which is key for bone health.
Brady finishes his game-day meal plan with a recovery meal and some chocolate
Brady has another protein shake right after the game to kickstart his muscle recovery.
His post-game dinner looks very similar to the dinner he has the night before, as he follows the 80/20 rule for that meal as well. His favorite post-game dinner is roasted wild salmon with lentils and veggies.
One serving of salmon can account for 41% of a person's recommended daily intake of protein. Salmon is also rich in essential vitamins like B3, B5, B6, B12, D, and E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and potassium.
Lentils make a strong complement as a side dish, as they are high in fiber and pack 18 grams of protein per cup.
Then, after dinner, Brady often has a few squares of dark chocolate. The health benefits of dark chocolate include inflammation reduction, lowering cholesterol, and increased blood flow throughout the body, including blood flow to the brain.
While dark chocolate became a favorite snack in wellness circles, nutritionists are divided - some say the benefits are exaggerated, and it should be treated like any other candy, while others say it can help reduce inflammation and promote strong blood flow.