More changes are coming to the beloved McDonald’s Happy Meal. While the classic Happy Meal is a mainstay, McDonald’s has announced that they’re removing items from the menu in an effort to help curb the increase in child obesity. Chocolate milk and cheeseburgers will no longer be, at least visually, on the menu. McDonald’s wants to “offer more balanced meals” for children, and the extra sugar in chocolate milk and cheese on the burger didn’t make the cut.
McDonald’s has also promised to cut the number of calories on the Happy Meal menu by 50%, bringing options down to 600 or fewer calories. Of those 600 calories, only 10% will come from sugar and the same amount of saturated fats. Happy Meals will meet a benchmark of 650 milligrams of sodium. Expect by June 2018 to see all of McDonald’s Happy Meal to contain fewer than 600 calories.
While Americans will no longer see chocolate milk and cheeseburgers on the menu, both items are available upon request. The fast-food chain does plan to re-release chocolate milk once they figure out how to reduce its overall sugar content.
Not to be excluded from these changes are other beloved menu items, like chicken nuggets and french fries; rather than the “small” french fry order, consumers will receive kid-sized fries.
CEO Steve Easterbrook, speaking on the matter of these changes, says that McDonald’s hopes that “these actions will bring more choices to consumers…as we build a better McDonald’s.” One group already cheering these changes: the American Heart Association. Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, has applauded the restaurant for making these changes: “This is an important step in the right direction, and we look forward to seeing how [this] announcement will lead to kids eating fewer calories and less sugar, saturated fats and sodium.”
Not everyone is excited. Many feel these changes are ploys to hide a secret scheme. Ernest Baskin of Saint Joseph’s University believes that this is part of a larger plan to cut down on costs by offering fewer calories per dollar and improve the company’s public image. “By positioning their meals as healthier,” Baskin asserts, “McDonald’s is likely attempting to make the decision easier for parents.” If parents feel good about these healthier menu items, they will feel good about bringing their kids to McDonald’s.
Regardless of their intentions, McDonald’s move to make Happy Meal menu items healthier can help fight childhood obesity and promote better health.
How do you feel about these changes?