Make us your home page

McDonald's shifts its Happy Meal in healthy direction

Moving to silence childhood nutrition critics, McDonald's has revamped its popular Happy Meal to automatically include an order of apple slices and a downsized order of fries. The changes start hitting stores in September.

It's part of the fast-food giant's expanded commitment to grappling with childhood obesity by reducing sodium, saturated fat and portion sizes over the next four years and inserting healthy eating messages in all of its ads directed at children in 2012.

The new Happy Meal, which will still come with a toy, gives parents options of drinks, burgers or Chicken McNuggets, but the standard fries order has been shrunk more than in half to 100 calories, with five apple slices on the side.

"The apples are peeled because research says that's better for tiny hands and tiny tummies," said Cynthia Goody, the chain's senior nutritionist.

McDonald's also has tested raisins, carrots and pineapple as balanced meal options. The changes cut the Happy Meal calorie count 20 percent to less than 600. There's no sugar added or caramel dipping sauce for the apples unless the parent chooses. McDonald's has offered apples as a Happy Meal alternative since 2004, but only 11 percent of buyers picked them.

Michelle Obama, who is heading a nationwide effort to battle childhood obesity, said McDonald's decision to add apples to its Happy Meals is a positive step. The first lady recently joined major retailers, including Wal-Mart, to announce plans to open or expand more than 1,500 stores over the next five years in areas without easy access to fresh produce.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

McDonald's shifts its Happy Meal in healthy direction 07/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 9:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bealls and West Marine to join Pollo Tropical at redeveloped Kmart site in Clearwater

    Economic Development

    CLEARWATER — The long-vacant shopping plaza on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, formerly home to Kmart, is nearing completion, bringing a handful of well-known retailers to the area.

    The long-vacant shopping plaza on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, formerly home to Kmart, is nearing completion. .JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  2. Justice Department says civil rights law does not protect gay people

    Working Life

    The Department of Justice has filed court papers arguing that a major federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation in a case now being considered by a New York appeals court.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions boards his plane at Andrews Air Force Base on Thursday. Sessions is traveling to El Salvador to meet with local leaders and discuss their efforts to fight gangs like MS-13. [Pablo Martinez Monsivais | Associated Press]
  3. Duke Energy quietly builds a $1.5 billion plant in Citrus County


    CRYSTAL RIVER — Sequestered in a remote part of Citrus County is the most expensive development project you likely haven't heard of.

    Robby Armstrong, Sr., construction specialist at Duke Energy, leads a tour through construction on the combined cycle natural gas plant at the Crystal River Energy Complex. The $1.5 billion project is the largest Duke Energy combined cycle project. Construction is about midway through and expected to be completed in 2018.
[MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  4. Sign up for the daily News at Noon email newsletter


    The Tampa Bay Times has launched a daily newsletter called News at Noon. It'll be the perfect way to catch up with the latest breaking news and our top stories right in your inbox each weekday.

  5. Jeff Bezos tops Bill Gates as world's richest person — for now


    A surge in Inc. shares Thursday morning in advance of the online retailer's earnings report has propelled founder Jeff Bezos past Bill Gates as the world's richest person, according to a Bloomberg report.

    Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, discusses his Blue Origin reusable rocket project in Colorado Springs in April. A bump in the price of Amazon shares in July of 2017 was enough to move  Bezos above Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, who has topped Forbes' billionaires list 18 out of the last 23 years. 
(Nick Cote | The New York Times]