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Devin McCourty preaches importance of breakfast

Devin McCourty speaks on a panel about the importance of school breakfast. 

Devin McCourty is a breakfast champion, and he wants everyone to know. 

As part of National School Breakfast Week, which started on March 7, McCourty spoke about his love for the meal, alongside Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern and dairy farmers Daryl and Lucinda Williams of Luther Belden Farm in Hatfield, Mass. The "Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: One Meal at a Time" event was hosted by the New England Dairy and Food Council and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees on March 8. 

The panel spoke to representatives of school districts across Massachusetts as part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative, which is an in-school program developed by the National Dairy Council and the NFL to encourage healthy eating and at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

McCourty said that as a kid, he wasn't buying it when his mom said breakfast was the most important meal of the day. He relied on school breakfasts throughout his education, and it wasn't until college he realized the value of what his mother taught him.

"I'd probably say [I realized she was right] in college, when you really start to dedicate yourself to your sport and try to get better in multiple different ways," he said. "Something so simple as breakfast and eating the right things and making sure you eat breakfast was key to us, and it helped me specifically when I got to college to gain weight and get on the right nutritional plan."

McCourty said he wants to help his younger fans realize how important breakfast is sooner than he did.

"You know, I was once in his shoes doing the same thing, and I always wonder how much further I could have been as an athlete and as a student if I was to listen younger and not wait until college and try to explain to him that eventually he's going to understand. He's going to do it, so why not start now and try and get an advantage."

As a commitment to the cause, McCourty has pledged to post breakfast selfies on social media to encourage fans and followers to fuel up for the day. He and his brother Jason have already started promoting breakfast on Instagram. 

McCourty said he hopes the posts push fans to begin each day healthily. 

"I just hope they see the importance. I hope they see something that they might see as foolish or not important … Maybe they're a fan of the Patriots or they've seen me play or seen my brother play, who's very active in it as well, and then they say maybe we'll give this a try," McCourty said. "Hopefully they see an improvement and see the different gains they can get from it, and hopefully I can just start by being a leader and just getting kids into it and they take off from there." 

McCourty said he is a "big fruit guy," often eating it with cereal or as a smoothie before a workout or practice, and he isn't the only Patriot who cherishes the morning meal. 

"The first meeting is at 8 a.m. How many guys are in the cafeteria between 7 and 7:30 a.m. ordering an omelet, grabbing some yogurt, finding a way to eat some breakfast?  Whether it's grabbing it and sneaking eating it in the meeting while Bill [Belichick]is talking or sitting down before the meeting and just making sure we eat breakfast because once our day gets rolling, just like you guys know, you get into your work and your day gets rolling," McCourty said to the audience. "You might be snacking, you might be trying to grab a meal here or there, but we know that if we start off the day the right way it gives us a chance, whether it be a workout, practice, film room."

Whether it is eggs, oatmeal or cereal, McCourty wants students to follow his lead. Breakfast keeps he and his teammates focused all day – as long as Coach doesn't catch them munching in meetings. 

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