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Happy Meal gets a makeover
July 26th, 2011
01:35 PM ET

Happy Meal gets a makeover

McDonald’s Happy Meals are getting their fat and calories trimmed, the fast food giant announced Tuesday.

The seemingly ubiquitous Happy Meals that have drawn the ire of health advocates and have been blamed for contributing to childhood obesity, will carry apple slices, reduced portion of french fries and a choice of beverage, including new fat-free chocolate milk and 1% low-fat white milk.

The core of the Happy Meal will remain the same as kids will still get fries (a smaller portion) and a choice of a hamburger, cheeseburger or chicken nuggets.   All beverages, including milk, fruit juice, water and soda, continue to be options for the Happy Meal.

The changes are scheduled to begin September with the hopes that all 14,000 restaurants will transition to the new Happy Meals by the first quarter of 2012.

The suggested retail price of the Happy Meal will not change, remaining between $2.99 and $3.49.

“By adding fruit in every Happy Meal, McDonald’s hopes to address a challenge children face in meeting the recommended daily consumption of produce,” according to the corporation’s statement.

The new Happy Meal with four pieces of McNuggets, apple slices, smaller French Fries and 1% milk has 410 calories, 19 grams of fat and 560 milligrams of sodium.

The makeover of the Happy Meal comes after cities and counties began considering Happy Meal toy bans over concerns about nutritional quality and marketing towards children. Happy Meal toys have been banned in San Francisco, and a New York council member  has proposed a similar measure this year.

Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, said McDonald’s had to change its nutritional content because of political and community pressures.

“I see this as a positive development,” he said.  “The companies have recognized the pressures from the public, the community and parents to offer healthier choices for children.  They’ve begun to respond.   There have been criticisms of what they serve children for many years. In the past years, the pressure has intensified, the White House concern about childhood obesity is one source of that pressure.”

First lady Michelle Obama who has spearheaded a public health campaign to prevent childhood obesity commended McDonald's for making "progress today by providing more fruit and reducing the calories in its Happy Meals.  I've always said that everyone has a role to play in making America healthier, and these are positive steps toward the goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity."

McDonald’s promised continuing changes to the nutrition in its meals.

“McDonald’s has been engaging suppliers, government and non-government organizations to determine ways it could play a role in helping society address today’s obesity concerns,”  the company’s press release said.  “McDonald’s will develop additional fruit and vegetable choices and expects them to roll out over the next few years.”

The apples were not very popular in Happy Meals - only 11% of all kid's meal purchases included the fruit option.  Many customers were not aware of apples as an option, according to the company. They will become a default item on the children’s meal.

The fast food giant also pledged to reduce sodium 15% across the board in its menu by 2015.  It recently reduced sodium by 10% in most of its chicken offerings, including the Chicken McNuggets.

McDonald’s also vowed to reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations by 2020.

Brownell said he hoped that reduced sodium and apples in the menu would not give parents “permission to go to McDonalds more than they did before. That’s not a good development.”

It’s a good first step, but doesn’t solve the problem, according to a statement from Corporate Accountability International, which is a frequent critic of McDonald’s.  It released a statement saying that McDonald’s “deserves credit for not only taking these steps, but for acknowledging its role in today’s epidemic of diet-related disease in so doing.”

“McDonald’s is taking steps in the right direction, but we should be careful in heaping praise on corporations for simply reducing the scope of the problem they continue to create,” said Kelle Louaillier, executive director of Corporate Accountability International.  “Ultimately corporate responsibility is not about securing public relations for cleaning up your own mess, but for not creating the problem in the first place. In this case, that means stopping the marketing of junk food to kids.”

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soundoff (633 Responses)
  1. Amped

    My kids get a treat of a Happy Meal about every other month, mostly when we are traveling. They're torn when making the apple/french fry decision. I'm glad both will come in each meal - and I'm glad there are less fries. They just want a taste of fries and often don't eat all of them anyway. Then again, I usually impose a fry-tax so I suppose I won't get my fix anymore.

    An occasional Happy Meal won't destroy your kids as long as your 'occasional' is reasonable. And also educate your kids! At supper, I ask my kids this question, "What is the healthiest thing we're eating?" They rank the foods from healthiest to least healthy, and we discuss why. They love the game and it gets us talking.

    July 26, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Katmoan

      Great response. Fair and a great idea about the game. I guess the other snobby responses are from people who apparently wipe their butts with golden toilet paper, and probably never let their kids have any fun.

      July 26, 2011 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
    • r.k.

      yea, my 3yr old dosnt like the fry tax either always tells me he worked hard for his fries and to go to timeout for taxing him.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
    • MeeksieMommy

      Love your game idea at the dinner table. I'm going to start using that. We talk about eating healthy food first, etc. Fun game though to keep things interesting. And, we too only have Happy Meals as an occasional treat. Love the addition of apples as my daughter usually chooses the apples when we get Wendy's.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • ADA

      What a bunch of bologna. There is nothing more "wrong" with this food then what kids often eat at the dinner table. Everyone always looks for a scapegoat and McDonalds is "happy" to play the part.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
  2. gross

    deep fried fast food to me is so low class and one should be embarrassed to be seen eating it. Actually bringing young kids to these places is crazy. And yes I know how many millions of people I'm speaking ill of when I say this.

    July 26, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      You're a stuck up jerk. There's nothing wrong with eating unhealthy once in a while - as long as it isn't a habit.

      July 26, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
    • Wideout#80

      I agree with you. I see parents who feed their kids this garbage it makes me want to body slam them. Fools don't know the harm they are doing.

      July 26, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • Prep

      I believe the term would be "plebian".

      July 26, 2011 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
    • The Real Nick

      You took the words right out of my mouth...low class, plebian...either way, you're absolutely right.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • tstranko

      stuck up judgemental people in this country like exhibited here is more the problem. I eat McDs occasionally and probably in better shape then you are.... people need to start worrying more about themselves and quit worrying about how other people live

      July 26, 2011 at 16:21 | Report abuse |
    • Jackie

      anyone who uses the word "gross" is low class. It isn't even in my vocabulary. My goodness what an old old word.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse |
    • ADA

      You don't know anything. That's the problem, you think you know better then everyone else. In fact, you are so more right then everyone else that you are ready to beat, imprison, and kill people (which is what "political influence" is all about) for not sharing your brilliant set ideas. Stuck up Jerk is right on.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
    • r.k.

      Nothing wrong with a little trip to get some McD fries, beats the hell out of sushi, tofu, snails im my opinion.

      so what type of food do "High Class" or "Equestrian" eat?

      July 26, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      Get over yourself. Let me guess, you are one of those "locavores" who only eat organic from your local area. For generations people have been eating processed foods. Spam, hamburger helper, you name it. Moderation is key. I eat fast food once and a while for convenience purposes, and gasp, my kid do too on rare occasions. I'm not going to travel with a cooler of celery or organic raisins to try to give them on the way somewhere. Neither of my kids are couch potatoes.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
    • Grammarpolice

      Oh thank you, your Majesty, for obliging all of us commoners with your high moral standards. I am sincerely jubilant to be in the likes of your presence.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • RafaelT

      You sound like a little Classist Pig. What one eats does not define one's status in society.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      Well, if you think eating FF is low class, I guess that also includes:

      Drinking sodas
      Eating ice cream, cookies or cake (yes, even birthday cake)

      Sorry pal, I think the only thing "low class" is your statement. Life is to be enjoyed, and health professionals have long said that anything IN MODERATION is OK. Just because someone eats fast food, doesn't mean they eat it all the time.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • Prep

      My HORSES eat equestrian mixes (for the poster who OBVIOUSLY doesn't know the meaning of the word equestrian). I eat at home, where either my family or our daytime chef cooks for us. And as us kids have grown up, we've been taught how to cook healthy meals and eventually we plan on doing all our cooking ourselves, except for large and catered events. IF I eat out, it is for birthdays and parties only, and then at elegant restaurants and NO fast food.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
  3. sman1234

    I’m sick of people complaining about how much more expensive healthy food is then junk food, and “ Oh, I can’t afford to feed my kids healthy food”. If you can’t afford to feed your kids healthy food then don’t have kids! I’m not going to buy a dog and say, “well I’m just going to feed him grass clippings from the yard because its way cheaper then dog food”. Kids are very very very expensive, ( ask my mother about her grocery bill back when I was teenager and she will probably start to cry)

    July 26, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • harhar

      i laughed out loud at your comment, but it's the absolute truth.

      July 26, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • Rins

      Bingo!

      July 26, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
    • r.k.

      Yea, I remember how much I use to eat when I was a teenager the cubbords where always empty. Now I have two kids that will be in there teens at the same time (10-12yrs from now) and I dont want to imagine what the cost of food will be then.

      Maybe I should start a teenager food fund and treat it like the college fund.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
    • roy

      if a parent ever says they can't afford to feed their kid healthy food what they are really saying is "I'm a lazy sorry excuse for a parent." I've got an idea, lay off the cigs and booze, cut your premium cable and your phone with the full data package. You might have money left over to buy your kid healthy food... then again since anyone who makes this claim is a full on idiot you will probably just find some other way to blow it.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Your logic is flawed. There are parents out there who both had great jobs, and great savings. They had kids when they could afford them. Then, with the sinking economy, parents lose their jobs, and exhaust their savings. They get new jobs, that pay less, and have trouble making ends meet, then what? They still have to go the cheap route with food, but you cannot tell them "you shouldn't have had kids if you cannot afford them". What do you suggest then?

      July 26, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • The Family Cook

      Seems also that the excuse that healthy food is more expensive comes from the mouths of people who are too lazy to take the time to prepare healthy food. It's easier to pull up to the drive-in and grab a greasy bag of food for the littles than it is to slice, dice, and actually cook a meal. I'm glad my mother showed me how to cook real food. It has served me well as a parent.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Nail on the head Kelly!

      July 26, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      @kelly

      Yours is the flawed argument, if you learn to cook you can feed your kids healthily and cheaply from whole foods. Rice, beans, bulk meat purchased from wholesale clubs, onions, potatoes, eggs, flour, carrots etc etc etc are very cheap when compared to buying medium grade processed or semi prepared foods. If you eat 75/99c frozen dinners then no, it's not cheaper, but I wouldn't feed that garbage to a dog.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      @The Family Cook

      You are correct, they are either lazy or inept in the kitchen, or both. It's a BS excuse from people with no life skills regarding food. and they are passing that on to their kids.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • The Family Cook

      @ Ryan...thank you! And you listed very good examples of foods that are very healthy, easy to prepare, and most of all, economical. I can make dinner for four for much less than feeding four at McDonalds, and it will taste great and be healthful to boot. It just takes a little bit of planning and time to feed your family well. And isn't taking good care of your children your primary responsibility?

      July 26, 2011 at 17:13 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      You can still eat healthily for cheaply without sacrificing convenience. For example, one of my cheap breakfast go-tos: oatmeal! You can get a huge tub of old-fashioned oats for about 10 cents a serving, throw it in the microwave with some milk, top with your choice of toppings within reason and moderation (if you go for higher calorie toppings such as peanut butter or brown sugar, do not go overboard), mash half of a banana to add, cut up some apple, these are all cheap. And, as a bonus, oats are very heart-healthy and super-filling so you are less likely to overdo it later in the day.

      There are many cheap, convenient, healthy meals. I am a total cheapskate and have had to support my husband and myself for the past years on a measly salary (and for a brief amount of time...unemployment)

      July 26, 2011 at 17:33 | Report abuse |
  4. crissy

    Ok, so when will parents start taking responsibility for raising their children? YEARS ago when McDonald's started offering a choice for a more nutritional Happy Meal I began choosing the apples and milk for my kids. So basically all these gripping, lazy parents accomplished was to take the toy out of the Happy Meal, way to go. Maybe if parents would set the example and rules for healthy eating then this would be a non-issue. I remember reading the article on the lawsuit against McD's about the toys causing kids' obesity problems and the mom commented that her kids throw fits until she takes them to McDs....are you friggin kidding?!?!?! My 4 yr old or my 15 yr old can not force me to do ANYTHING!!!!! Like I said parents need to start being parents and stop expecting other outlets to do it for them. oh and PS, my daughter (who happens to love apples, carrots & celery ~gasp!) says thanks for taking her surprise toy in the Happy Meal!!!!!!

    July 26, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Troy

      I'm glad they removed the toy. It was the unhealthiest part of the meal!

      And people wonder why kids today don't take personal responsibility....

      July 26, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • Everyman

      The toy just goes into the landfill ayway. It's usually a waste of plastic.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • Biologist13

      Troy..WTH are you talking about? kids can't learn personal responsibility because there was a toy in happy meals??? that is plain loony

      July 26, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • Just saying.....

      Yeah Troy,
      some of those toys were just too hard for my kids to chew. They'd get stuck 'tween their teeth. One kid even choked and coughed so hard he threw up.

      Thank god those toys are gone. Now I don't have to watch what my kids gnaw on.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
    • RafaelT

      Did not see anything about the toys?

      July 26, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
  5. Corvus1

    I solved the problem of poor nutrition from McD's by not eating there.

    July 26, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nyarlathotep

      Exactly: if you don't like McD's, don't eat there. Don't try to obstruct other people's right to eat what they like.

      July 26, 2011 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
  6. bsmc1234

    Honestly, this whole thing is ridiculous. The government should not be legislating morality or what we eat or anything like that. As it stands, much of the concerns that have been conveyed about McDonald's are bogus. Watch "Fathead" and I think you'll get some better perspective on all of this.

    The problem with this change is that they are now removing an option. What if someone just wants the fries and not the apples? Basically, McDonald's should have the options: Fries, Apples, or Half/Half. Let the parents make the choice.

    I've often thought about opening a fast food outlet of my own and not offering up these healthy items, as well as not listing the nutritional data. Why? Because, the SCOTUS fight would be the best part.

    July 26, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob Baft

      You're an idiot...they're not removing the option...they're GIVING you the food. "Do you want A, B, or C" vs. "Here, take A, B, & C".

      Retard.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • eepah

      No one has legislated ANYTHING to force ANYONE to do anything. McD's made this choice voluntarily based on consumer demand. Don't make this into something it's not.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • bsmc1234

      You can't get just fries. You are required to take both apple and fries. Per the press release " McDonald’s will automatically include produce or a low-fat dairy option in every Happy Meal" ... in order to include this, they remove half the fries. You still can get all apples, but you can't get all fries.

      So, if a kid wants a full order of fries, guess what? Parents now have to shell out the extra cost for small fries.

      What next? The end to the upsize? Half salad/half fries with every extra value meal? It will happen.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • bsmc1234

      Actually, this is the result of laws passed that restrict or ban the sale of these meals. By doing this, they otherwise will be able to meet the nutritional rules. Perhaps there is consumer demand, but I don't think it's that high.

      Again, when my fast food restaurant opens:

      – There will be kids meals with toys
      – No nutritional data posted on the menu (dumbest idea ever)
      – There might be salads, but they would not necessarily be the healthy kind

      Government can fine me, but I will appeal it all the way to SCOTUS and win.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
  7. mike228

    Corporate responsibility? How about parental responsibility.
    I think I have the answer to childhood obesity..."mommy, can I have McDonald's?"
    "No." Problem solved.

    July 26, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. bristol palin...the dancing porker

    Here in the Palin household we like " lard-on-a-stick ".

    July 26, 2011 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gregg

      Your not really Bristol Palin...the real Bristol would know that the Palins eat there lard right out of the Crisco can...why waste the time to put it on a stick?

      July 26, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
  9. (Un)Happy Meal

    My parents make me eat McDonalds. They say it's not worse for you than anything else, even though I keep trying to convince them that it's bad. They get mad at me when I refuse to eat at McDonalds.

    July 26, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bristol palin...the dancing porker

      Would you like to try some of my " lard-on-a-stick "?

      July 26, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
    • Michelle Obama is fat

      Do not obey your parents. Parents never have enuff brains to know what is good for you. Just wait a little longer and my husband will ensure the government will take care of you.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
  10. Crikey

    Great, so they are adding the french fries to all meals that my wheat allergic child cannot eat. Was so much easier when I could buy him the occassional treat of a cheeseburger (no bun), apples and milk to drink. But no, apparently parents cannot parents for themselves and McD's has to step into help. NannyBurger.

    July 26, 2011 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rins

      Why can't you just order the happy meal without the fries? It would be like saying "I want a cheeseburger without onions".

      July 26, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
    • Bob Baft

      Boo hoo...they don't cater to my special needs kid. KEEP YOUR KID AT HOME IN THE CLOSET. Don't make me have to suffer because of your genetic defect.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      Complaining because your kid CAN'T eat McD's because of a wheat allergy? Are you seriously that desperate for the convenience of feeding your uterus dropping fast food? Please, don't breed ANYmore...Stop right now...

      July 26, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • weeder

      One question- what has a wheat allergy got to do with french fries? Where I come from fries are potatoes

      July 26, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • Crikey

      weeder – actually in McDonald's case it's doublefold. One the french fries have wheat protein in them (rarely are french fries just potatoes). Second they share fryers so the wheat from the chicken nuggets, fish, etc cross contaminate the french fries.

      For the others, thank you for your lovely Darwin comments – I so appreciate them. It's not like it hasn't been said before :) I never asked McD's to change, I just find when company's attempt to change to "healthier" options it's actually to our detriment, not our benefit. I have no issue skipping the fries, what I am concerned with is the smaller size portion of the apples to make up for the fry calories.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
    • Crikey

      FWIW – I have never walked into a restaurant and said, Oh you should change this because my child is allergic. I do appreciate the restaurants with clear labeling and honesty and can even appreciate th ones who simply tell me we cannot serve your child safely. The owrld will not change for him, I am teaching him to live in the world he is given. So really, before you stick "that label" on me please consider the fact that not everyone thinks the world should change because their child has allergies. I was merely pointing out for this "Nanny Burger" move is frustrating from the standpoint that it was one of the few fast food treats he could have (and because I am the parent who says no often), it's a rare treat. I'm the parent – not the government, not McDonalds.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:44 | Report abuse |
  11. Andrew

    mmmmm....apple nitrates! Here's an idea, cut the portion sizes sure but put more veggies into thier meals. I mean add some freakin' lettuce and tomato at least, and even for the regular items, ever look under the bun? a couple rings (I don't mean full slices) of onion, and a little corner piece of lettuce (sometimes even an end piece) that is so small and wilted. I have never seen any burger or other sandwich that looks like their menu pictures that they advertise. For the kid meals, fill that burger with lots of lettuce and a real slice of tomato. Instead of fries, how about soup...

    July 26, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Big Brain

    I have always enjoyed the chicken McEmbryos.

    July 26, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. You've Got To Be Kidding

    So ultimately MacDs puts slightly less chemically-laced, processed nightmare food in the box and charges the same price? I love the low-fat Chocolate Milk kicker – are they the last to realize that low-fat offerings don't have anything to do with weight-loss and/or good nutrition...This is scary. Parents please educate your kids on how to eat properly so we can get this great nation on track again!!!

    July 26, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wideout#80

      Yes, thank you! That "low fat" chocolate milk is probably loaded with sugar. Terrible health choice. Much better to drink plain whole milk.

      However, the parents of America clearly already knew this, if you read the comments on this blog...

      July 26, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
  14. JackyD233

    I find it ridiculous the government feels the need to put pressure on these businesses. We are not children and we can make our own decision on what we eat and what we pass on. For those that are children, the parents needs to take control of those decisions. Parent have the buying power, so ultimately what your children eat is up to you. On the lighter side, I'm glad they opened it for choices and not totally destroyed the happy meal.

    July 26, 2011 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Andy

    Why does McDonalds always seem to get all the flak when other fast food places, like Burger King and Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, et. al are probably even WORSE?

    July 26, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wideout#80

      Because they market to kids.

      July 26, 2011 at 15:59 | Report abuse |
    • linda

      wideout#80 – they are NOT the only fast food chains that have kids meals with toys!

      July 26, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      In that case, we should also start targeting Lucky Charms, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, and pretty much any other kids' cereal out there too.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Bob Baft

      Linda: can you tell me what Burger King character is geared towards kids like Ronald McDonald and all his buddies? How about Taco Bell? You're so frigging smart...enlighten me.

      McDonald's markets to kids way more than the other fast food places...putting toys in the meals isn't the only form of marketing. Ever see TV? on this magical mystical picture box, they sell products via commercials.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Wideout#80

      @Andy – ABSOLUTELY. Breakfast cereals are about the worst offenders in all this. Worse than McDonalds. A child does not need to be eating a bowl of sugar flakes and marshmallows for breakfast.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
  16. Marie

    Child obesity is totally the fault of the parents, or whoever takes the kids to McDonald's. If you don't want your child eating foods high in fat, sodium, and sugar, don't feed them those foods! And if your children "make" you take them to McDonald's, you have no one but yourself to blame. People are too dependent on the government and lawmakers to make good decisions on their behalf, instead of having the gumption and free will to take responsibility for their own actions.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • linda

      Absolutely true!

      July 26, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • Wideout#80

      You can eat a diet low in fat, sodium, and sugar and still have it be totally unhealthy. That is why people are getting involved. You don't know what you are talking about. Just being a parent doesn't make you an expert. You have to actually read and understand this stuff.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • Wideout#80

      You think that just because you have apples with your burger and fries, that makes it a healthy meal?

      July 26, 2011 at 16:21 | Report abuse |
  17. doug

    stop complaining what everyone eats its none of you business that care of ;youself and shutup

    July 26, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Wideout#80

    Let's see... they have a clown as a mascot, a playground at every location, commercials on the Disney Channel, and they give you a toy with your meal.

    Then they feed your kids something that is scientifically KNOWN to harm them in the long term.

    Sinister.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Biologist13

      Interesting perspective.. I didn't know that kids under 10 were allowed to travel to restaurants and buy food independently? Personally I always took my kids to McDonalds and I actually paid for the meals and gave them to my children, I wasn't aware that McDonalds was feeding other peoples children. Do they kidnap them, feed the kids and then return them before the parents realize the kids are missing?? hmmm seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.
      A happy meal (small burger, apples and apple juice with a toy) and some time at the playscape are a nice treat for kids.. and parents. if you think an occasional McDonalds burger is going to harm your kids then i feel sorry for your kids. The body is not that fragile and you obviously don't know what your talking about. but hey, thats what is SUPPOSED to be great about this country, the freedom to disagree and make your own choices..

      July 26, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      They don't feed your kids anything. The parents do. Mcdonald's isn't at fault for the obesity epidemic. They exist, because there is a HUGE MARKET and DEMAND for Mcdonald's. No one forces a parent to take their kids there. The parents make that choice on their own.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      I agree Biologist. Wipeout, why are you so angry?

      July 26, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      What, exactly, is "scientifically KNOWN to harm them in the long term"?

      Unless you're speaking of sodium, fat, cholesterol, or any of many substances in food which cause absolutely no harm in moderation, which case you're just guilty of hyperbole.

      I hope you actually have some crazy actual sinister theory though. PLease, Id love to hear it.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
  19. Sagebrush Shorty.

    If you don't like McDonalds don't eat there. Otherwise be quiet and allow others to eat where they wish.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Joe

    If you are poor and there is an option to feed your kid dinner for $3 then you do it. Everyone that jumps on these forums and bad mouths MacD's never has had to choose between either a cheap dinner or no dinner. Not everyone can afford to go to the grocery store on a daily basis and pickup fresh produce for their family. At least this is a step in the right direction for the fast food giant.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Heather

      Those are the type of people who should not have families :)

      July 26, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
    • Victor

      Joe...I'm not sure where you're shopping but for three bucks you can buy enough vegtables and salad – on sale if you look for it – to make a healthy meal, and if you're that hard up drink water. I'm tired of hearing that this is a rich v. poor thing...it is a lazy versus responsble thing. Period. The only people being harmed are the kids...and that's not cool.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Heather – who gave you the authority to decide who should and should not have children. What a snob.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      In my opinion, when people say they "can't afford" to eat healthy or to feed their kids through buying groceries instead of McDonalds, that usually means, "I can't make the time to actually cook something from healthy ingredients" rather than going to buy something already made.

      July 26, 2011 at 19:31 | Report abuse |
  21. smallzy

    If they eliminate the toy, my kids won't want them anymore...that simple. Its not the "great taste" of the food that gets them, it's the marketing. Advertisers have been doing this stuff for a long time and the objective has ALLWAYS been about more money, don't kid yourself, McDonalds doesn't exist to keep your kids healthy regardless of this new PR move, they exist to make money, just like Marlboro, Anhieser Busch, and any other multi-national corporation. Health is for the strong...the weak make us lots of MONEY.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      So they are like every other company in this country. Of course they are trying to make money, it's called capitalism, read a book.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse |
    • Debbie

      Just buy the toy and not the meal. I do it for my granddaughter all the time.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
  22. funkymonkey

    I still cannot get past the fact that there is butane (lighter fluid) in Mcdonald's chicken nuggets.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. gross

    anyone can have kids and raise them horribly, it seems to be a pandemic in this country. In some instances wild animals do a better job raising kids then actual people...and I'm not kidding or trying to be funny....the governemnet gets involved when you idiots then tax the hell out of the healthcare system because you're all a bunch of unhealthy morons health insurance or not. you still are a waste of our time...that is those of use working in the world of healthcare..we haven't even gotten into the environmental concerns when it comes to all the resources wasted to raise cows for your hamburgers and birds for your nuggets.........you all suck! how many of you work in a hospital and see this firsthand......i bet less than half.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • trollfeed

      seek help. seriously.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
    • Pad

      I hope to God that you are just a hospital employee who is not actually involved in the treatment of patients. I would expect those involved in treating patients could pass a basic elemntary-level writing test. I can't even tell what you are trying to argue....

      July 26, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Great bedside manner "gross".

      July 26, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
  24. Tracy

    We do let our daughter have the treat of a Happy Meal once in a while because she loooves her chicken and fries with chocolate milk and there is the occasion that neither one of us feels like cooking, which I don't see as lazy. As long as it is kept in moderation and her diet and physical activity is otherwise balanced, I don't see the problem with the occasional Happy Meal, apples or not.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sittingpretty

      yes of course moderation is the key word...the problem with our society is we have extremes...we have eating disorders and then obesity...nothing in between....it is so sad....food should be enjoyed and not treated as a bad thing.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • Wideout#80

      And when she's a fat teenager with self-esteem issues, pre-diabetic, and looking at a future of yo-yo diets you'll be able to look back and say that at least you didn't have to cook your own meals. Not lazy at all.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
  25. sittingpretty

    Take charge of your own eating. People need to eat and exercise. Parents should also help their kids. They are the future....

    July 26, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. linda

    It is ridiculous to just pick on McDonald's. It is nice to see they are giving healthier choices. I can't believe one statement in the article: "Brownell said he hoped that reduced sodium and apples in the menu would not give parents “permission to go to McDonalds more than they did before." Parents are the problem first and foremost, not McDonald's. If they still choose to buy fast food that is their choice not the Government's.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Wideout#80

    OK, so if parents are suddenly the experts on nutrition – how many of you know what insulin is?

    July 26, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. TheWaterbug

    For the first ~5 years whenever I took my son to McDonald's I always chose the apples and milk for him.

    Now he's 7 and I let him make a lot of his own choices. He chooses apples about 80% of the time and milk 100% of the time.

    See? No legislation required.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. JKBoone22

    I ordered the apples once. I was getting on an airplane and decided I should be healthy since I would just be sitting around for 6 hours. 2 weeks later I re-discovered the OPEN bag of apples in the bottom of my briefcase. They weren't even brown and were still crunchy. Gross! How healthy can these chemically laden slices of fruit be??

    July 26, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • legend

      it's so funny how people can think that just because mc d's offers apples and milk, they are healthy. they're not in it for the health reasons folks. wonder what chemicals are in these apples to keep them so fresh for so long and i don't even want to know what cow if even, the milk came from. oh interesting how by the way they decide to decrease portion size but yet still same price. Mc D's figured out a way to make more profits and cut spending while passing it off as healthier choices. Maybe these guys should work for Congress.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:08 | Report abuse |
  30. Nope

    I find it funny that people in the article seem to think that this will help that much. Just because put something in a "meal" doesn't mean a kid will eat it. When I was kid whatever I didn't like, I traded to some other kid, fed to a pet, or threw away. The only real solution is to put every company that makes food that they seem opposed to out of business and then make it illegal for children to be fed anything not on their approved food item list. Of course this sort of thing is crazy and something that shouldn't happen.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Crystal

    I love how a fast food company is blamed for children being fat. Shouldn't this be the parents fault? McDonalds is not forcing these children or their parents to feed their kids happy meals. The parents make this decision. Maybe McDonalds should sue the stupid parents for feeding their kids food that has been proven to be unhealthy.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. po_tec

    I never understood why a meal that 50% of the time results in the eater experiencing diarrhea would be called "The Happy Meal."

    July 26, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Kerr Bear

    Everyone saying that McDonalds is the cheapest thing to feed kids, that Happy Meal is still $3. Cooking Light runs several recipes every month, where you can feed 4 people for under $10. Even cheaper, yet healthy. It only takes effort, which some people are apparently opposed to.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Royal

    Don't worry my peoples, you can still take your kids to Burger King for the good meals.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Johnny

    So basically McDonalds can save money with cutting the fry portion smaller (a few fries less per meal may not seem like a lot, but when you have millions order them each day it can add up) and still convince people to eat there and give them the same amount of money.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scott

      The majority of McDonald-goers are too stupid to know the difference anyway.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
  36. Brett

    I have never commented on a CNN article, but had to post when I saw this article.

    I just wanted to comment about adding fruit to a McDonalds meal. The simple sugars in fruit do nothing to help the rest of the meal's healthiness factor. These extra sugars will go into the bloodstream and help to make a spike in insulin even worse. Most people know that much. What they DON'T know is that this also causes a simultaneous INCREASE in the amount of FAT stored in the body from the meal alongside the fruit. This is why people tell you that if you're going to snack on fruit, it should be ONLY fruit for that snack, or paired with other non-fat foods. If you pair it with bad fats, you're more likely to increase the amount of those fats you store. So while these fruits have some vitamin benefit, it's vastly outweighed by the con of absorbing more fat from that cheeseburger you're eating!

    July 26, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wideout#80

      Exactly. Now if YOU have kids, at least you will be able to teach them how to eat correctly. 90% of people on here have no clue what they are talking about. Well-meaning, but completely clueless.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
  37. DaisyinNY

    This is a good move for McDonalds. Glad to hear it!

    July 26, 2011 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Disko

    I'll bet most of you are anti-smokers who support(ed) banning smoking. Now that your fatty food is under attack, how do you feel? Be careful about trying to ban stuff you don't like, cuz your vice might be next up on the chopping block.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. incredulous

    Can't believe people are complaining about this. McDonald's has been pumping crap food into people who are too rushed, lazy, or gluttonous to cook tasty and cheap and maybe even crap food themselves for half a century, and will continue to do so probably forever no matter how they change the menu.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. HFI

    I love all the eat more fruit is healthy crap. Because I have heriditary fructose intolerance and eating the required daily amount of fruit would send me into liver failure in days. Actually that is a leading way to dx HFI. Baby switches to baby food (mostly squished fruit), baby gets colicky, baby pukes and barfs buckets, baby turns yellow and liver failure ensues. I live on a diet of meat and animal products (eggs, milk) and 3 veggies I my body can process. I also love the don't eat meat or other animal product debates. I have to say though my kid only eats about 6 fries and they usually give him so many it's insane how much they waste. He also only eats 1 out of 4 nuggets. He doesn't usually care for the toys and at 5 years old eating at McDs at least once a month I'd say he has kept 3 toys. He does love an occassional M&M McFlurry, but if they got rid of the number one draw: (free, indoor) PLAY ZONE and he'd never want to go to McD's again.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. C.

    my family is pretty healthy, we eat on a budget too. we are a family of 4 and we spend approx 100-125$ a week on groceries. we dont eat fast food and very seldom go out to eat. we dont eat much junk – maybe we get a bag of chips or a package of cookies ea. week. we have plenty of fruit and veg, meat, granola, etc. i think anyone that says eating healthier costs too much is just using it as an excuse for their laziness and stubborness against making a change in their lifestyle.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. SharplyRight

    Another overreach by idiotic legislators. If you don't like it don't eat there. Why is it always someone else's fault? I guess they will be telling us what kind of cars we can drive next.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. David

    It would be nice if the box was optional too. I make my kids ask for their food on the tray. How does it make sense to discard a cardboard box after only 30 seconds of use?

    July 26, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. blv

    It's all about responsibility... for yourself and for your children. Corporations aren't parenting your kids, YOU are! Go to the grocery store and make a meal. It's not rocket science. Every 6 months or so, I love a McD's or BK binge. The rest of the time I'm in the gym and eating salad. And my child will never know fast food on my watch.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. ComeOn

    Its not McDonald's fault that America is fat!! We always need to blame someone or some thing. You know whos fault it is that America is fat... America's. We decide what we eat, and we decide what our kids eat.

    Also, I would like to add that the "epidemic" of obesity is largely manufactured. While it is true that at the upper ends of BMI society has gotten even heavier, in the middle weight gain has been minimal since the last generation. The equivalent of one more hamburger a month in calories. Hardly an epidemic.

    Further, if you read a few studies on PubMed you'll see that those who have a BMI that would classify them as overweight, but not extremely overweight, tend to have less health related issues. The consensus in many of these reports is that health versus BMI follows a U pattern. Either extreme and you start getting adverse health consequences.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. BHCITIZEN

    This is so ridiculous it's pathetic. Happy Meals are not forced on anyone, and now they want to change it because of some far fetched notion that it's not good for you. PURE CRAP!
    What's not good for you is to believe everything that people tell you. I know PLENTY of people that are in their 90's that have been living off of that kind of food their whole lives. As for me; fats, salts, sweets, cholesterol, trans fats, all of them are my close & personal friends, and will be for life (I'm 54 now and it's been a good run so far with them).

    July 26, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wideout#80

      Just look around you at all the slobbering fat fools populating our nation. It doesn't need to be that way. I lost 50 lbs of pure fat and I'm down to a super-trim 7% bodyfat today. Believe me, if I can do it, ANYONE can. But it's like your gym teacher always said – no pain, no gain. Some of you have no tolerance for anything even remotely uncomfortable and it's pathetic. Yes, you can get in to great shape, but you need to give up your nice comfortable cheeseburgers and shakes.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
  47. deb

    Oh goody...my kids are getting SO FAT by the limited choices I have when I drag them to the nearest fast-food place instead of preparing a decent home-cooked meal. Thank you Government once again for saving us from ourselves. It's about time somebody did something about the fat I feed my kids.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dodgers2011

      Government had nothing to do with this decision.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
  48. sniffanus

    they are going to start calling them Gay Meals

    July 26, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. bristol palin...the dancing porker

    Here in the Palin household, not only do we like to eat tons of lard, we also like to wallow in it. We fill our hot tub with it and jump in.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. yo yo

    *******if you read any comment make it this one********

    everyone is complaining its the parents but parents send their kids to school where they are not taught that fast food is unhealthy......if they were we'de have a whole culture of people who wouldn't spend a dime on it which would make lots of wealthy people lose money......its elementary education that ultimately is intended to preserve a capitalist agenda of making billions off the less educated. Children aren't taught the right thing because too many people have too much money invested in getting over on the social class's below them....this is capitalism.

    July 26, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • blv

      Ummm... who's responsibility is it to teach your kids about eathing healthy? YOURS. School is to teach my kids about calculus.

      July 26, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • dodgers2011

      Take responsibility for teaching your kids a few basic life lessons. I will teach my kids about right and wrong, how to treat others, what to eat, how to manage my money, etc....why burden the schools with raising your child.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
    • L

      The schools could certainly improve their health classes, provided they could afford to keep those teachers as well as art, music, PE, etc., but it would not solve this problem. The "once in awhile" parents/kids are not the issue. It's the poor, the uneducated, and/or the lazy parents. What do you think happens to the educated 8 year old who informs his parents that he will not be eating what they bought him for dinner because it's bad? The "once in awhile" parents will applaud him and find something else, something healthier, to serve their child. The others will probably yell at and scold their child for questioning them and appearing to "be a know-it-all", chastise him for turning his nose up at the food they can afford, lecture him about wasting the food they spent their hard-earned money on, and tell him that it's either the damn Happy Meal or nothing. Regardless of whether the child chooses to then eat the food or stand by his decision to lay off the stuff and go hungry, his parents will probably take him right back to McDonald's just as often as they did before.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.