I tried eating like Tom Brady for a week, and it required a lot of extra hot sauce

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Anneta Konstantinides
·12 min read
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Tom Brady
I tried Tom Brady's new TB12 Performance Meals. AP Photo/Gerry Broome
  • I tested Tom Brady's new TB12 Performance Meals, said to be inspired by his own diet regimen.

  • My meals included herb-roasted chicken, roasted cod, and citrus shrimp.

  • The frozen meals only took five minutes to prep, but some lacked flavor.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Seeing as he's about to play in his tenth Super Bowl at the age of 43, it's clear that Tom Brady knows a thing or two about keeping his body in tip-top shape.

So when I heard that Brady was releasing a line of prepared meals designed to help anyone "achieve their own peak performance," I knew I needed to test them out.

The TB12 Performance Meals, created with The Good Kitchen and inspired by Brady's own nutrition regimen, are shipped frozen and ready to eat after just a few minutes in the microwave. The Good Kitchen sent the meals to me for review at no cost.

But would they taste any good? And would they get the approval of a nutritionist and trainer? I decided to find out.

Tom Brady's TB12 Performance Meals are inspired by his own nutrition regimen.

Tom Brady
Brady calls his diet the TB12 Method, which mainly consists of plants and lean proteins. AP Photo/Butch Dill

Brady teamed up with The Good Kitchen to create a new line of TB12 Performance Meals, which are based on what he calls the TB12 Method.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has credited this method, which he's written a book about, as the very reason he can still play competitively in the NFL. His diet mainly consists of plants and lean proteins, and he doesn't touch tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, white flour, white sugar, dairy, MSG, or coffee.

Brady claims that his TB12 Method will help make your body less acidic, thus improving bone health, energy, and inflammation.

Read more: Tom Brady is so obsessed with perfection that he can't sleep if he makes a mistake in a game

But nutritionists and researchers have called out Brady's diet in the past, saying there's "actually very little scientific evidence" to support his claims.

tom brady bucs 2
Nutritionists said Brady's diet isn't backed up by much scientific research. Mark LoMoglio/AP Images

Dr. Mike Molloy, who does nutrition coaching for athletes at M2 Performance Nutrition, told Insider that the TB12 Method is designed to help achieve something that the body already does on its own.

"In many ways, the TB12 diet is similar to the alkaline diet," he said. "In both cases, the goal is to reduce the acidic nature of the body through food. There's only one problem: The body does this naturally through the function of the kidneys and urine. This is just one way in which the diet really fails to follow the actual science of nutrition."

"There are many aspects of the TB12 diet that we do like, such as its emphasis on unprocessed foods high in fiber such as veggies, nuts, seeds, most fruits, and legumes," Molloy continued.

"However, we believe their dogmatic approach of telling people they should never have certain foods goes too far," he added. "Extreme approaches where we label food as 'good' or 'bad' typically leads to lack of compliance, and in extreme situations eating disorders such as orthorexia." Orthorexia is an obsessive fixation on healthy eating.

I had no plans to cut tomatoes or sugar out of my diet anytime soon, but I did want to see if Brady's meals would make me feel more energized before a workout.

I usually eat the exact same thing for lunch almost every day — a Greek salad with some kind of protein and half an avocado. So I was excited to change things up and see if Brady's meals would give me a boost, especially before some of my more brutal virtual bootcamp classes.

I decided to eat Brady's meals for lunch through a full work week to see if I would feel a significant difference.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
I ate Brady's TB12 Performance Meals for a full work week. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

The Good Kitchen provided five different meals for me to review:

  • Herb-roasted chicken and vegetables

  • Roasted cod with succotash and chermoula sauce

  • Chicken satay with cilantro rice and broccoli

  • Citrus shrimp with quinoa and spiced cauliflower

  • Roasted chicken breast with lentils and kale

Brady's Performance Meals currently ship across the US. They're priced at $12.99 for subscription meals and $14.76 if you buy them a la carte.

I started my week of eating like Tom Brady with the herb-roasted chicken and vegetables.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
The herb-roasted chicken and vegetables. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Brady's herb-roasted chicken and vegetables features citrus- and herb-marinated chicken breast with vegetables including Yukon gold potato, carrots, Brussels sprouts, red onion, and cremini mushroom, all tossed in an herb and Dijon vinaigrette, according to The Good Kitchen website. It contains 416 calories, 35 grams of protein, and 23 grams of carbohydrates.

The dish is also described as "spicy," which I was excited to see since I drench almost everything in hot sauce.

Prepping lunch was easy enough. All I needed was a microwave.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
The dish was ready after just four minutes in the microwave. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

According to the instructions on the back, I needed to pop my meal into the microwave for "three to five minutes." While cooking, the clear film over the tray would inflate into a dome.

The instructions advised to stop the microwave as soon as the dome began to deflate. "You may also hear air escaping the dome," it added.

I heard a pop just before four minutes were up, so I decided to take the tray out. I could see the dome just starting to deflate as I opened the microwave.

Read more: Tom Brady is not the greatest athlete of all time. It's bigger than that.

I had everything cooked and plated within five minutes, and the dish looked pretty impressive.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
The dish looked great once I plated it. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I loved the fall colors of the dish. It actually reminded me of a protein bowl I might get from one of my old lunch spots in New York City.

The chicken was a bit chewy, but it was seasoned nicely. And while the vegetables were a bit bland, they had cooked well in the microwave and paired nicely together. After a few bites, I also added some pepper and fresh cilantro to brighten up the flavors, as well as some hot sauce to give the dish a bit more of a kick.

Overall I thought the meal was pretty good. It reminded me of the basic but filling hot meals I would get at Westside Market by my apartment in the East Village on nights when I was too exhausted to cook.

But when the clock hit 2:30 p.m., I was surprised to find that I was starting to feel a bit hungry again. I had assumed the meal would keep me feeling full for hours.

The next day, I tried the chicken satay with cilantro rice and broccoli.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
The chicken satay with cilantro rice and broccoli. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

This dish includes cage-free chicken thighs which are grilled "in a satisfying yellow curry and almond butter sauce," according to The Good Kitchen website. It's paired with cilantro rice and "antioxidant-rich broccoli." Per Brady's diet, it also includes no cane sugar. There are 31 grams of protein, 449 calories, and 35 grams of carbohydrates.

As with the herb-roasted chicken, this dish claims to be spicy and lists cayenne as one of its other ingredients.

After another five-minute prep, I was ready to dig in.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
I didn't find the chicken satay dish to be very memorable. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

The chicken satay was one of the least memorable of the dishes that I tried. The chicken was a little chewy again, the broccoli was bland, and I could only taste a bit of the yellow curry paste.

For there to be so many spices listed in the curry's ingredients, I was shocked that I wasn't getting more flavor from the dish — or any heat. I added more pepper, hot sauce, and fresh cilantro again, along with some kimchi to help make the meal feel more vibrant.

On Wednesday, I decided to try the roasted cod with succotash and chermoula sauce.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
The roasted cod with succotash and chermoula sauce. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Brady's dish features a "light, flaky cod filet" with "an herbal North African green sauce" paired with lima beans, yellow squash, and zucchini, along with seasonings that include cumin, paprika, coriander, and crushed red pepper, according to The Good Kitchen website.

As with the last two meals, it claims to be spicy.

The dish has 31 grams of protein, 533 calories, and 28 grams of carbohydrates.

I had a feeling frozen fish in the microwave would be risky, and my fears weren't unfounded.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
While I loved the lima beans, the cod was very dry. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

The roasted cod was very dry and a bit tough, so I may have overcooked it even though I only had it in the microwave for around three minutes and 30 seconds.

I did love the lima beans and squash, which were flavorful — especially with some of the green sauce on top. But I did add some avocado to round out the meal, along with, yet again, a lot of hot sauce.

The next day I tried the roasted chicken breast with lentils and kale.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
The roasted chicken breast with lentils and kale. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

This Brady meal features chicken breast, lentils, and kale, along with seasonings that include garam masala, garlic, thyme, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar.

The dish has 411 calories, 46 grams of protein, and 20 grams of carbohydrates.

This dish was definitely my least favorite of the bunch.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
The beans were floating in puddles of water after I took the tray out of the microwave. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

The roasted chicken breast with lentils and kale seems to no longer be available on The Good Kitchen website, which I think is the right call.

After I took the tray out of the microwave, I saw the beans were floating in little puddles of water. The chicken was still tough, although it wasn't as chewy as the cod from the day before, and the flavor was bland overall.

But I did like the lentils and could actually taste the seasoning, and they paired nicely with the kale.

I also added some avocado and feta to the dish, as well as the usual hot sauce.

Read more: 9 easy dishes you can make with an avocado, according to Michelin-starred chefs

Last but not least was the citrus shrimp with quinoa and spiced cauliflower.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
The citrus shrimp with quinoa and spiced cauliflower. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Brady's dish includes "fresh flavors of lemon, parsley and turmeric," along with "savory garlic, coriander, and olive oil," according to The Good Kitchen website. It is advertised as giving your "Vitamin C fix," as well as "anti-inflammatory spices," and "complete plant protein." Once again, the dish claims to be spicy.

The dish has 439 calories, 33 grams of protein, and 34 grams of carbohydrates.

Of the five meals I tried, the citrus shrimp was easily my favorite of the bunch.

Tom Brady Performance Meals
The citrus shrimp with quinoa and spiced cauliflower was the best of the five dishes. Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

The dish, for starters, just looked really pretty. The colors of the shrimp and cauliflower were so vibrant, and really stood out after a week of meals that mostly consisted of neutral colors.

There was tons of flavor and I could really taste all the spices that had been put in the dish. Plus the cauliflower tasted great, and wasn't too tough or too soft.

Read more: Unlike its guac, Chipotle's new cauliflower rice sadly isn't worth the extra $2

The quinoa also paired perfectly with the shrimp and veggies. While I did end up adding more hot sauce and avocado, they really enhanced the dish instead of masking any blandness.

After testing the taste of Brady's meals, I decided to see how they stacked up both nutritionally and from a training perspective.

Tom Brady meals
My trainer said the meals would be good for someone like me who exercises four to five times a week. The Good Kitchen

Molloy told me that it was good the meals all contained at least 30 grams of protein, which research has shown is "critical for lean muscle mass growth."

"As you can imagine, lean muscle is very important for most sports, and also is one of the best predictors of longevity as well," he added.

Molloy was also pleasantly surprised to see "complete protein sources" in the meals, rather than an emphasis on plant-based proteins.

"I do like the minimalist ingredients used in the meals," he added. "In general, unprocessed foods provide better satiety cues and control appetite substantially better than refined and processed foods. This is great for people who are looking to drop weight, but for athletes, it's a double-edged sword. Some processed foods such as rice, oats and other whole grains can provide added easy energy for training and competition."

Molloy did find that while the meals are a great option for the average person, an athlete would need to "eat substantially more food overall to support their athletic endeavors."

My trainer, Mike Michalski of Variant Fitness, agreed that the meals would be good for someone like me who exercises four to five times a week but isn't doing rigorous training.

"Quick meals, with great ingredients, and with a proper macronutrient profile are not easy for everyone to prepare and fit into their diets on a regular basis," Michalski said. "These meals certainly help to make that process that much easier."

There are definitely some Brady meals I would try again.

Tom Brady meals
I would definitely recommend the shrimp and herb-roasted chicken dishes. The Good Kitchen

I don't think the TB12 Performance Meals made a huge change in my energy levels during my workouts, but it was nice to mix things up for a change and try different protein and carb combinations.

And while I would definitely recommend the shrimp and herb roasted chicken dishes, I think Brady's meals could benefit from a bit more flavor — and a lot more heat!

Representatives for TB12 Performance Meals did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

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