McDonald's Revamping Happy Meal to Include Fruit - FamilyEducation

McDonald's Revamping Happy Meal to Include Fruit

July 26,2011
Lindsay Hutton

McDonald's has announced plans to revamp the contents of their wildly popular Happy Meal to include fruit alongside the standard burger and fries combo that has been the staple of this meal choice for 30 years.

In the past, this little red box has come with pretty much the same food choices-- hamburger, cheeseburger, or chicken nuggets, with fries and a soft drink as a side (and don't forget the toy).

Most recently, McDonald's experimented with healthier sides, offering children (or parents) the option of replacing the fries with apple slices.

The revamped Happy Meal won't offer this choice-- every meal will automatically come with both fries and apple slices. To make room for the extra serving of fruit, the french fry holders will now contain a 1.1 ounce serving of fries, down from the 2.4 ounce serving that came with the standard meal.

While apple slices will be the featured side, other options will include carrots, raisins, pineapple slices, or mandarin oranges, depending on the time of year and the region.

In addition, children (again, or parents) will have the option of forgoing the fries altogether and doubling up on the fruit or vegetable.

On average, this change means each Happy Meal will contain 20 percent less calories, 15 percent less sodium, and 20 percent less saturated fat. Annually, it is estimated this will eliminate about 49 billion calories from American kids' diets.

However, according to some, although this is a step in the right direction, the Happy Meal still isn't a great meal choice. Even with the change, each meal will still contain a whopping 89 grams of sugar.

I personally think this is a great step in helping to curb the growing obesity epidemic this country is facing. McDonald's is the biggest fast food chain in the nation, and it's great to see they are taking serious steps to make their meal choices a little healthier.

These new Happy Meals still might not be the best choice, but any little improvement is better than none.

What do you think? Are you happy to have healthier choices for your child if McDonald's is for dinner? Will you choose healthy sides over french fries? Or is McDonald's a treat, so you'll let your kids eat whatever they want? Tell us your thoughts!