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McDonald's to remove cheeseburger from Happy Meal menu, offer smaller fries

17 February, 2018, 00:16 | Author: Lloyd Doyle
  • Changes coming to McDonald's Happy Meals to improve nutrition

Can a Happy Meal ever truly be healthy?

The Happy Meal menu at your local McDonald's is about to look a lot different -a nd it's a big move to make the kids' menu healthier. But they aren't exactly going to turn unhealthy kids healthy. The chain said it is removing cheeseburgers as a regular option from its kids-friendly menu. By June 2018, all Happy Meals will contain fewer than 600 calories and have less than 650 milligrams of sodium.

The Happy Meal choices will now be a hamburger or Chicken McNuggets in four- or six-piece options.

The cheeseburger can still be requested as a "special" option, but will no longer feature on the menu and as you can imagine, the response has been mixed. And the percentage of customers choosing soda with Happy Meals has dropped to 48 percent, compared with 56 percent before the menu board change.

Diners will still be able to ask for cheeseburgers or chocolate milk with the kids' meal, but the company said banishing them from menus will reduce how often they are ordered.

The company announced Thursday that cheeseburgers will be removed from the list of options by 2022, though they can still be requested afterwards. (It should be noted, however, that Americans in general are drinking fewer soft drinks than they were a few years ago.) Other chains have taken similar steps on soda.

This new global commitment is particularly encouraging, said Penny Kris-Etherton, a distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University. However, McDonald's said global restaurants must change their menus so that at least half of the Happy Meal options available meet its new nutritional guidelines.


McDonald's is aiming to keep calories in its Happy Meals at no more than 600 while also reducing half of the added sugars, up to 17 percent of sodium and 13 percent in saturated fat.

However it will not be changing its New Zealand Happy Meal menus.

In 2011, McDonald's added apple slices to Happy Meals.

The menu change only applies to the US for now.

In addition, US menus will no longer offer a cheeseburger Happy Meal on its official menu, even though the item will still be available "at the customer's request", McDonald's says.

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

The company says it is working to improve the nutrition of its food for both kids and adults around the world. It says it plans to measure how much it sells and share best practices and results.

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