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The Sweet Smell of Success

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How to make school meal programs--and their goal of better health and nutrition--more palatable was the problem.

The solution was some tasty appetizers: colorful posters and "scratch 'n' sniff" stickers featuring popular Walt Disney characters and mouth-watering aromas designed to build membership in a new "Breakfast Club."

Conceived by Kevin Gill, the chief administrator of the New York City Board of Education's office of food and nutrition services, the concept was brought to life with the help of Mello Smello, a Minneapolis firm that designed and produced the stickers and posters.

The eight-week program in the city's elementary schools offered stickers wafting the scent of savory foods to those children who came to breakfast. With 16 of the stickers, which also displayed nutrition tips or facts about the Big Apple, they earned a big version of the Disney promotional poster.

"Our goal is communication, getting

the word on nutrition into the classrooms and to parents, and getting food-service managers involved," says Mary Ellen McGarry, special projects coordinator in the office of school food and nutrition services. She estimates that an additional 30,000 meals were served at the height of the program.

And now, while the aromas of bananas, waffles, and bacon linger in the air, Ms. McGarry and Mr. Gill are setting their sights on lunch.

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