How McDonald's plans to make Happy Meals healthier

How McDonald's plans to make Happy Meals healthier

Lindsey Duncan
February 17, 2018

McDonalds has vowed to make healthier options for children.

That means customers can still have these items put in Happy Meals by request, but the hope is to nudge people into making slightly healthier choices by making the menu items less visible.

Happy Meals in the U.S. will also replace small French fries with kid-sized portions, which will decrease the number of calories and sodium from the fries by half.

By this time, the company pledges that at least 50 percent of the Happy Meal menu will be 600 calories or less - 10 percent of those calories coming from saturated fats, another 10 percent from added sugar - and will contain only 650 milligrams of sodium. "If you're in a restaurant and your child smells french fries and sees the soda, it's very hard for kids to get the healthier choices", she said.

Good-bye cheeseburgers and small-sized fries. "We want to serve food kids will want to eat", Julia Braun, the fast food chain's head of global nutrition, said about the new alterations, according to USA Today. Just like with the Cheeseburger, customers can still request chocolate milk with their Happy Meals.

Reformulating chocolate milk to reduce the amount of added sugar.

A 600-calorie meal is still excessive for some young and less active children, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Post said.

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The company called its initiative part of "an expanded commitment to families" that includes improvement of the nutrition in its Happy Meals.

Five years ago, McDonald's removed soda from the Happy Meals menu, though customers could always ask for it.

To reach these self-imposed nutritional requirements, McDonald's will only present the Hamburger Happy Meal on the menu.

With 20 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, and only 270 calories, the Grilled Chicken Wrap is the healthiest entrée on Wendy's kids' menu.

McDonald's has no plans to take cheeseburgers off its Happy Meals menus in New Zealand, despite announcing it will do so in the United States.

The company is also looking at changing the options for the coveted toys that come with the meals.

Every year Canadians come together to celebrate McHappy Day, which over many years has raised over $67 million for RMHC, Ronald McDonald Houses and local children's charities across the country.