Tom Brady Shares His Retirement Diet — and Yes, There's Ice Cream (Exclusive)

"I just eat the food I like," the NFL star says, explaining that he still prefers healthy foods after "28 years of really intense physical conditioning"

<p>Jon Kopaloff/Getty </p> Tom Brady in December 2023.

Jon Kopaloff/Getty

Tom Brady in December 2023.
  • Tom Brady hasn't entirely abandoned the notoriously strict diet and exercise regimen he followed when he was in the NFL, but tells PEOPLE he'll eat "good ice cream"

  • The 7-time Super Bowl winner said it's less of a diet, and more of a lifestyle, sharing that he just prefers healthy food

  • The dad of three says he wants to stay fit so he can keep up with his three kids and not "be in pain"

Tom Brady has eased up on his once-notoriously strict diet — well, sort of.

“I had 28 years of really intense physical conditioning, so that never gets too far away from me,” Brady, who won 7 Super Bowl victories, tells PEOPLE. But he says that now he’ll eat something considered unhealthy — as long as it’s the good stuff.

“My thing is, if I'm going to eat ice cream, I want to eat good ice cream. I'm not going to buy some s—y 7-Eleven ice cream,” he said. “I want gelato. Here we go. You know what I mean? That's how you should do it.”

Tom Brady/twitter Tom Brady shares a fitness selfie.
Tom Brady/twitter Tom Brady shares a fitness selfie.

The newly minted member of the New England Patriots Hall of Fame shared that generally, he just prefers healthier foods — and as for his infamous avoidance of strawberries, it’s not about sticking to a diet, it’s because “I just don’t like them,” he's said previously.

“I don't think it's a diet. I think it's just a lifestyle, and I don't think it's super regimented,” Brady, 46, explained to PEOPLE about what he eats. “It's not that I think I'm about 85% of the time really good and then 10, 15% of the time it's kind of like, ‘All right, we're in a great place. Let's have some good food.’ ”

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His tastes are the product of years of conditioning, he tells PEOPLE, explaining. “I ate the way that I ate because it helped me perform. So it's like, why change?” says Brady.

“I couldn't even go back to eating the bad food that maybe I ate in the past just because I wouldn't even feel good.”

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Brady, who appears in a new commercial for Hertz's "Let's Go" campaign, said he’s not denying himself now that he’s in retirement from playing, and just eating what he likes; It just happens to be healthy.

“I already like the stuff I like anyway. It's not like I'm eating stuff I don't like. I just eat the food I like," Brady tells PEOPLE. "It's just over years, my tastes have changed and adapted to probably a little healthier foods.”

<p>Maddie Meyer/Getty</p> Tom Brady with his children at a New England Patriots game in 2023.

Maddie Meyer/Getty

Tom Brady with his children at a New England Patriots game in 2023.

The dad of three — he shares John "Jack" Edward Thomas, 16, with ex-girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan, and shares son Benjamin Rein, 14, and daughter Vivian Lake, 11, with his ex-wife, Gisele Bündchen —  said that keeping active is important, because while he might not be fielding footballs anymore, he’s still trying to keep up with his kids.

“My physical body is so important to me. I relied on it so long to perform, and I still do because I love being active. So it's like when I'm with my kids, I want to be skiing with them. I want to be on the boards, I want to be surfing with them. I want to golf, and if my son wants to go play basketball, I want to go play basketball with him, but I don't want to be in pain. So I still focus a lot of time on my physical body and my mental health.”

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But instead of just following a regimented gym routine, Brady says he’s spending time enjoying his new hometown.

"The quality of life in Florida is really nice,” Brady, who now lives in Miami, tells PEOPLE. “It's all the outdoor activities that I love. And then being on the water is great. I live on a golf course, which I love just getting out there — even for 20 minutes, just chipping a few balls. I have to be really active."

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He continued, "I'm still like a 14-year-old boy, just got all this energy, and I just go hit a few shots, and then come home and swim, and then work out, and the kids come home."

And that's when, he says, it's time for "Volleyball in the backyard.”

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