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A Little Bribery Goes a Long Way



Want to make sure an elementary schooler eats a salad? Just offer him the chance to win an autographed football signed by his favorite National Football League players.
That’s exactly what happened when Atlanta Public Schools partnered with the Atlanta Falcons and Sodexo-Jackmont, the district’s food service provider, to come up with innovative ways to get kids to make healthier food choices. 
The three-week program, called Good4U, started at six schools with the lowest consumption of healthy foods. Students at each school were given special cards with 13 empty spaces to earn stickers. When they made a healthy meal choice, such as a salad, wrap or local produce, they were given a sticker to put on the card.
Once the card was full, the kids dropped it off into a container in their school cafeteria. Every student who filled out a card earned a prize, but at the end of the program, three cards were drawn for grand prizes such as a football signed by the Atlanta Falcons or an MP3 player.
While the students might have been eating well just to nab a prize, they certainly ate healthy during the program’s run. Springfield Park Elementary School, for example, saw consumption of fruits increase by 133 percent, while consumption of vegetables increased by 160 percent. Salad and wrap sales went up by 80 percent, while à la carte sales of healthier menu options increased by 55 percent.
“When you take away the guesswork and reward healthy eating, smart choices become easier,” Sodexo general manager Myra Spencer says in a statement. “And the best part is that local community partners are involved in the process.”