McDonald’s Happy Meal Becomes Happier & Healthier
McDonald’s Happy Meals are trimming their fat and calories trimmed, fast food giant McDonald's announced on Tuesday.
After serving junk food to several generations of America, the famous (and infamous) fast food chain seems to have gained a conscience. The public campaign launched by public health advocates for many years now is finally bearing fruit.
The fast food company has decided to revamp its popular Happy Meals section, in an attempt to do its part in the battle against childhood obesity in the US. This decision is especially significant because it is fast food chains like McDonald's who are major contributors to obesity in this country.
What is McDonald's going to do? For starters, the Happy Meals will contain apple slices, a smaller portion of French fries and offer fat-free chocolate milk and 1% low-fat white milk as beverage choices.
While the core of the Happy Meal remains unchanged, as it still offers fries, hamburgers, cheeseburgers or chicken nuggets, the hope is that the other changes will encourage children to go for healthier alternatives.
The fast food giant will start to introduce these changes in the Happy Meal starting in September of this year. By the first quarter of next year, Happy Meals will be healthier in all of its 14,000 restaurants. The retail price of the Happy Meal will remain the same, ranging between $2.99 and $3.49. This allows healthy options to remain affordable for lower-income customers.
The McDonald’s Corporation said in an official statement, “By adding fruit in every Happy Meal, McDonald’s hopes to address a challenge children face in meeting the recommended daily consumption of produce.”
This doesn't mean you should start feeding your children Happy Meals everyday. They still pack a whopping 410 calories, 19 grams of fat and 560 milligrams of sodium. But these changes make this a more reasonable treat for your children now and then.
Unfortunately this change was not easily achieved. Community members across the country and political representatives had to build pressure through measures like seeking a ban on Happy Meal toys and questioning the nutritional quality and marketing targeting children. After much public ridicule, the McDonald’s Corporation relented and announced these changes in its menu.
First Lady Michelle Obama also commented on this announcement, commending McDonald’s for achieving “progress ... by providing more fruit and reducing the calories in its Happy Meals.”
In addition to the Healthier Happy Meals, the big news is that McDonald’s has promised that it would continue to make nutritional changes to its meals in an endeavor to encourage healthier eating habits among children and adults alike.
Image Credit: www.mcdonalds.com