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McDonald's Makes Happy Meals Healthier: Does It Go Far Enough?

By Kerri-Ann Jennings, July 29, 2011 - 12:26pm

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When 19 restaurant chains (including Burger King and IHOP) pledged on July 13th to tighten up their nutrition standards for children’s meals, McDonald’s got some flak for not getting with the program. But it turns out the fast food behemoth had plans of its own. Just two weeks later McDonald’s rolled out some changes to their Happy Meals—namely, they’re now replacing ½ of the fries with a ¼ cup serving of sliced apples (soda is still the default drink option, unless customers choose chocolate or 1% milk). In addition, the burger chain has pledged to set nutrition standards for the food advertised to children under 12—meals need to have less than 600 calories, no more than 35 percent of calories from fat, 10 percent of calories from saturated fat and 35 percent of total sugar by weight. These standards are pretty loose (after all, the USDA recommends limiting sugar to less than 10 percent of your daily calorie load—a far cry from 35 percent) and, with the exception of calories from fat, even the old Happy Meals come very close to meeting these parameters. At least the new fruit-enhanced default option is a step in the right direction.

What do you think of McDonald’s “happier” meals? Do they go far enough?

What do you think of McDonald’s “happier” meals? Do they go far enough? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Kerri-Ann Jennings, Family meals, Food & health news, Healthy kids, Nutrition

Kerri-Ann Jennings
Kerri-Ann Jennings is a registered dietitian with a master's degree in nutrition from Columbia University.

Kerri-Ann asks: What do you think of McDonald’s “happier” meals? Do they go far enough?

Tell us what you think:

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