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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 (632 Responses)
  1. Seaburger

    The real story here is that McDonalds is slightly changing their menu to help maintain / increase sales. McDonald's responsibility is to it's stockholders while our health is up to .. US. Take responsibility for your own choices people!

    July 26, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rosalind80

      I agree that individuals need personal responsibility, but can't a corporation have responsibilities to its shareholders AND to ethical considerations? Executives and shareholders are also people who can take responsibility for their choices, which means they can choose to balance profit with social awareness.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I agree with you. It is the responsibility of business to protect it's stockholders. Health is an individual's concern.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
    • Seaburger

      Rosilind80 ... I agree with your sentiment on this however, as you point out, executives & shareholders are people too.. and they make thier own health decisions for their family. A corporation will only sell a product that consumers CHOOSE to buy. If corporations balanced social health concerns with profit where would that leave to twinkie company or pork rind industry? Our choices are our (consumer) responsibility.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • vinny

      Its the parents job to give their kids healthy food. Not McDonalds. Stop being lazy parents. Everything in moderation is also fine. McDonalds is a public company and their job is to make money, not raise your kids for you

      July 26, 2011 at 18:47 | Report abuse |
    • MAX

      very true, but its still a good part for the corp. to do a little to help their customers. Good for them

      July 26, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
    • George

      Or, the real story is that they're shrinking the product for the same price... Inflation anyone?

      July 26, 2011 at 19:42 | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      Fast food shouldn't be the core of your child's diet. My kids were always skinny and athletic. Beleive me they had their fair share of "junk food" through out their childhood, but it was a treat for them, not a staple. They are both adults and given the choice they both (one male/one female) eat very healthy. We sat down every night and ate a real dinner together at the table. This type of meal should not be what kids grow up eating on a regular schedule.

      July 26, 2011 at 19:51 | Report abuse |
  2. KWS

    It's great to see that McDonalds is finally stepping up an taking responsibility for raising our children in the area of nutrition. We all know that saying "no" to a child damages their psyche and hurts the parent-child buddy/friend relationship, so this really was the ONLY way to keep our kids' weight under control. Thanks McDonalds! Being a parent is hard enough already!

    July 26, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jack

      KWS: "raising our children?" Uh, McDonald's isn't supposed to raise the children, PARENTS ARE. "The ONLY way?" Uh, no. You MUST say no to your children. Otherwise they become spoiled lazy brats who grow accustomed to getting everything they want. If you do not know how to say "NO" to your child, you have no business raising one! That is parenting 101, on the most fundamental level.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:35 | Report abuse |
    • IceT

      Now me & my children can "bond" over a common hatred of the McD's corp for forcing my kids to eat healthier .. while at the same time my kids will eat slightly healthier & I don't have to be the bad guy.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:36 | Report abuse |
    • Ashley

      Hurts their self esteem to say NO?! Are you kidding?! Not saying "No" to your child will teach them that they can do whatever they want with no consequences! I hope you were joking.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • Seaburger

      Jack & Ashley ... it was sarcasm at it's finest. Well done KWS.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:46 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff in Illinois

      KWS, snarkasm isn't spoken here.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse |
    • Colette

      It's a pity that people can't understand sarcasm these days.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:08 | Report abuse |
    • matt

      McDonald's isn't responsible for kid's health, their parents are. The worst thing about American society today is that people refuse to take responsibility for their own actions: if anything undesirable happens to you, it _has_ to be someone else's fault.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:09 | Report abuse |
    • TBoneAZ

      Jack, you're an idiot. It's called sarcasm.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:13 | Report abuse |
    • Lady Gagaga

      Too funny!

      July 26, 2011 at 18:16 | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      Are you on drugs ????? Just by making that statement should automatically prohibit you from ever having children. Do you really believe McDonalds is responsible for raising your children and teaching them good eating habits. Are you insane? DO 5 year olds have their own car and wallet full of money and drive themselves whenever they feel like it ot MCD for a Happy Meal? NO. You do you idiot.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:27 | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      It's sarcasm, people. I bet you also though that Johnathan Swift was advocating eating babies.

      July 26, 2011 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
    • Korey Parker

      KWS: How anyone could miss such a prevalent sarcastic tone is beyond me. I agree with you in a bevy of ways; when I have children it will be my responsibility to teach and demonstrate proper nutrition. There will be times that I will want to simply buy my child a Happy Meal, which I would expect to contain the same amount of fries as it will (according to the article) remain at the same price.

      Those who believe that this minor (and frankly unimpressive) change is a step toward a healthier lifestyle seem to forget that another order of fries is only a dollar, and that upon seeing the lessened portions a parent will learn to buy another order of fries for their child. Those who will dispute this will say “that is based upon the decision of the parent and it is not the McDonalds Corporation’s fault; they are trying”, which I agree with as it was NEVER THEIR FAULT THAT WE ARE AN OBEASE NATION…….bad personal choices have been the problem and they shall remain the issue.

      July 26, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse |
  3. GS

    Mc Donald's IS NOT RESPONSIBLE for the obesity of the American Kids! it takes common sense to know that!!!

    July 26, 2011 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mikeydaman

      Well put GS! I can't stand McDonalds, but at the same time it's unfair that they're always being targeted for lawsuits (not the least of which includes these so-called "obesity lawsuits". I don't see these types of suits being filed against other fast food chains – so why McDonalds? Like GS said, they are NOT responsible for childhood obesity! PARENTS are!

      July 26, 2011 at 17:45 | Report abuse |
  4. Expertia

    If your kid throws out any part of the Happy Meal, he or she was not really hungry, and you shouldn't have bought it in the first place. One reason kids are obese is because they have been indulged with food when they are not really hungry.

    July 26, 2011 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nicole

      if I followed that advice (nit feeding the child until he's famished and has to eat everything on his plate) he'd only eat every other day. He is already in the 15% for height:weight. His brother, however, who is in the 80th percentile (85th is at risk for being overweight, so maybe 1 Lb below that) could easily eat three happy meals of given the choice. So, uh, yeah.. Maybe you should go educate yourself on children's nutrition (as well as the instinct many kids have to eat only until they are satiated even if more food is available) before you start handing out advice.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse |
    • Victor

      Expertia was dropped on his head multiple times as a child.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:27 | Report abuse |
  5. Jason B

    Good grief people. There's an easier way to have your kid not eating so much fat & sugars. Don't go to McD's all the time! Duh!

    July 26, 2011 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. cat

    all well and good but my kid is allergic to apples. Can we get extra fries? His weight is just fine. He eats other fruits and most veggies why can't I decide what is in the food I buy him? It is my money after all.

    July 26, 2011 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sameeker

      So one kid is allergic to apples so lets get them banned? Simple, don't order them or go somwhere else.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
    • JDevil1735

      I didn't see where cat said to ban applies – maybe she used invisible ink though while type. All she was wondering was if SHE would be able to choose what HER child eats and get extra fries in place of the apples. I think it is a VERY reasonable request since it is HER child – and NOT the food -nazis.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:13 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Ummm...it's actually McDonald's choice as to what kind of food it will serve. If you want more fries, buy more fries! Sheesh!

      July 26, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
    • JDevil1735

      Obviously it isn't completely McDonald's choice what they serve since they are being bullied into changing their Happy Meals by the food-nazis.

      July 26, 2011 at 20:45 | Report abuse |
  7. ATC

    Pre-sliced and packaged apples taste disgusting. Tried to send them to pre-school in snacks with my daughter (from the grocery store) and have also had them from Subway. I always let my child go for the less healthy option becuase the taste of the apples is TERRIBLE.

    July 26, 2011 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. amylynn

    Obesity is not the fault of the overweight person

    In fact, it is almost impossible to lose weight in the USA due to Food Chemicals.

    The food has been filled with food chemicals and this is proven by a European filmmaker. This is why people cannot lose weight

    A filmmaker has shown how to reverse weight gain with a diabetes diet for NON diabetics in 10 countries and the drug-makers hide the story

    The diet reverses the damage from Food chemicals and causes weight loss

    If you cannot lose weight it is not your fault

    see here http://spirithappy.org/wp/?page_id=788

    just google SPIRITHAPPY.ORG

    July 26, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • IShallNotBeNamed

      I wish to argue with you.
      While yes it is sometimes not the person's fault for being obese and yes commercial foods due contribute (somewhat) to obesity. I wish to point out that it is well and truly possible to lose weight in America.
      The ‘problem’ that most people have with losing weight is A) Motivation and B) Time
      Usually both of these can be overcome very easily.
      While not an eye popper I did weigh 191lbs at 5’5”. The weight I am suppose to be at is between 140 and 144lbs. Determined to lose weight I started exercising four/five days of the week, cut my calorie intake and watched what I ate when I was out. I started doing this last week (7/18) and I’ve already lost 5lbs. All this between a 9am-6pm job with a 45minute commute on each side.
      It is the responsibility of the person/parent to monitor what goes into the mouth. They have little things called nutritional labels on the sides of boxes. These amazing little things have something called a ‘serving size’. This is usually not the entire package.
      So before you go and blame companies for making you fat and lamenting how you cannot lose weight please examine your own life style and habits. If you are eating an entire bag (Family Sized) of Doritos in one hour while sitting in front of the computer all day on a nice, sunny Saturday don’t go complaining on message board about how it’s ‘impossible’ to lose weight. It is very possible.

      July 26, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      So you're a fatty looking for an excuse I presume?

      July 26, 2011 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • IceT

      We've been spammed folks (litterally & figuratively) it's just an ad..

      July 26, 2011 at 18:25 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      Wow, can I have some of the kool-aid you've been drinking? I wish I could blame my layer of fat on food chemicals instead of sheer laziness. There's an easy way around the chemicals in food.
      Ready for it?

      DON'T BUY PROCESSED CRAP!

      OMG it's sooo simple. I lost 40 pounds by following this approach. Only fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, fresh meat (ethically raised, processed, organic), and whole grains. This approach took some time in planning my grocery trips until I got used to it, but I ended up saving money. If you can't pronounce the ingredients and picture what they are when reading the labels, don't buy it.

      No one is forcing you to consume chemicals in your food, you just need to use your brain and make a conscious effort to eating healthy.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:25 | Report abuse |
  9. Ashley

    I think it's great McDonald's is taking a closer look at their meals however... we cannot continue to blame all of society for our problems. We need to be responsible as parents in conveying good lifestyle choices in ALL areas with our children.. that's OUR JOB as their parent. It's not the end of the world to eat a Happy Meal, as long as it's every once in awhile, and that the other two meals and snacks your child has that day are healthy and have all the food groups. The blame toward TV, restaurants, ect for children's bad behavior or health needs to stop. We hold the key to what our child sees, does, and eats. It's your job as a parent to limit negative exposures while letting your child still live in the world we live in today.

    July 26, 2011 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ben

      "It's not the end of the world to eat a Happy Meal, as long as it's every once in awhile, and that the other two meals and snacks your child has that day are healthy and have all the food groups."

      But the world will end if you feed your child two Happy Meals. Before that happens, however, the FBI will hopefully arrive at your house and quietly take you away where you can be tried and executed for your crimes. FREE RONALD MCDONALD NOW!!!!!!!! DO NOT CRUCIFY RAY KROC FOR SELLING A DELICIOUS PRODUCT THAT IS JUST AS MUCH A SYMBOL OF AMERICA AS APPLE PIE AND THAT ABU GHRAIB TORTURE VICTIM!!!!!!!!

      July 26, 2011 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
  10. Jeni

    PARENTS are responsible for childhood obesity, not restaurants.

    July 26, 2011 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. jackie

    What a crock. I used to eat happy meals 3-4 times a week when i was a kid and i've never been overweight. you people who want to eat 4 meals a day at mcdonalds can't blame mcdonalds for making you fat. you did that yourself.

    July 26, 2011 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. sev

    Happy Meals are a waste of money...even though I had one all the time growing up...why not get something off the Dollar Menu? I don't have kids, and will NOT have kids, but it's more logical to just buy a Dollar Menu hamburger or nuggets or whatever.

    July 26, 2011 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. matt

    How the F*** can we blame mcds, its not like ronald mcdonald is coming to your freaking house an pointin a gun at u sayin eat this!!! Parents ARE TO BLAME HERE!!!!! Stop taking ur fat child to mcds and make them a salad at home!!!! HOW FREAKING HARD IS THAT!!

    July 26, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • IShallNotBeNamed

      Matt,

      Oh my God! You mean actually parent!?! How could you suggest such a horrific thing!

      And for Jack,

      Yes I'm being sarcastic

      July 26, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse |
  14. Ashley

    So now it comes with fries AND apples, I always opt out for fries when I take my kids there so they don't have the option between fries and apples, I was always, either you eat your fruit or don't, there was no fry option cause if there was they would'nt eat thier darn apples, I guess I will just have to ask for "no fries"........................

    July 26, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Karl

    Since when do children make money, drive cars or make healthy decisions? That is what parents are supposed to do, not businesses. If a child does not make money then how does it pay for a happy meal? If a child cannot drive, hot does the child get to McDonalds? If children cannot make healthy decisions how are they making wrong ones? *PARENTS* do all these thing to children. Who is to blame?

    July 26, 2011 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JDevil1735

      The problem is that parents don't want to parent anymore – they just want to be their child's friend. Also – its the easy way out to just go to a fast food place instead of actually cooking. In top of that we have these idiot food-nazis who think it is their responsibility to tell the rest of us what to eat. They should learn to worry about themselves.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
  16. SKRamey08

    I think they should leave their menu alone! It is the responsibility of parents to make healthy choices for their children, and if they want to splurge every now and then at Mc Donald's and let their children eat fries, then that is thier business! I agree with the others who say you cannot blame a restaurant for making you fat, that is just ridiculous. You choose to eat there, you know it is not "healthy", and so if you become fat, then it is YOUR fault! Besides, I've tried those apples that come with the happy meals, and they are really nasty. I'd rather let my child eat the fries, and have extra playtime outside that day!

    July 26, 2011 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Theodore

    Apple (no not those type of apples) will be happy about this.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. JDevil1735

    There are only two people who are responsbible for childhood obesity – that is the child's mother and father. Here is a hint on parenting, you restrict the number of times you go to places like McDonalds, or other fast food place. It shouldn't be an every day affair. Turn off the video games and make sure your child is outside playing. Don't use the TV as a babysitter. When your child asks for a snack right before dinner, say "No – we are going to be eating"

    Parents don't want to parent anymore and then on top of it – we have these food-nazis who think it is THEIR job to tell the rest of us what to eat.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SKRamey08

      Very well put.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
  19. Fernt

    mmmm, mmm, beige!

    July 26, 2011 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Bruna

    Its a good thing McDonalds is taking some responsability for its role in this huge problem US faces. But a " happy meal" is suposed to be a treat, an indulgence, not a evereday meal. Maybe if they price it at $10, like they do in my country, it will make more difference than adding 3 slices of aple with a caramel dipping sauce with 1000 grams of suggar in it.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. sameeker

    I bet all of the people defending McDonalds are also the same ones who take pleasure in beating up the tobacco companies. Fast food taxes should equal tobacco taxes and go up whenever they do. Otherwise, reverse it and only tax tobacco at the rate that fast food is taxed. They are both harmful to ones health, just like fighting wars to enrich corporations and former presidents.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Victor

      @same – Shut up moron. Go collect your welfare check.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
  22. cypher

    Funny we had McDonald's every Friday night when I was a child/teen. I never got fat, must have been the hay I baled and put away all weekend.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Victor

      @cypher – Yours is an example of something called REALITY, a concept which is lost on most Americans these days.

      Also, there is a link between bad parenting & obesity. The same slobs who lack the willpower to say no to their kids lack the willpower to walk 30 minutes a day or to avoid eating half a chocolate cake for dessert. Personal responsibility is lost on such cretins, so of course it's all the fast food and HFCS's fault to them.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:38 | Report abuse |
  23. Lee

    Terrible reporting. Did not even compare the new calories and fat to the old numbers. Did not compare them to USDA recommendations. Where did you learn journalism? We need facts!

    July 26, 2011 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Kiersten

    Haven't they been doing this for a few years now...?

    July 26, 2011 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Jesse Billingsley

    There is no such thing as "healthy fast food," never has been and there never will be. So if you ask me, fast food should either start making things from scratch so it is actually healthier, or just get nuked off the face of the planet.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seaburger

      The only real way to "nuke them off the face of the planet" is for consumers to stop buying the stuff. We have the power & choose not to use it ... our spending shows how we really feel about this issue.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
    • v

      dumb

      July 26, 2011 at 19:09 | Report abuse |
  26. IceT

    If legislators actually cared about "the people's" health, they would simply ban ALL unhealthy consumables .. no twinkies, potato chips, candy bars, soda, fruit loops cereal, etc... not to mention tobacco, alcohol products or cars that travel faster than 20 mph. Point is, this is just a slap & run at a big dog & only to bolster politicians rating .. this is nothing but a big hot pile of greasy fatty politics & we're eating it up!!

    July 26, 2011 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. AScottWalton

    Not enthused about the Happy Meal change-up...
    http://parentalguidancesuggestions.blogspot.com/

    July 26, 2011 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Gail

    I'm glad my son is too old for Happy Meals. The fruit combined with carbs would give him one heckuva a sugar buzz. I agree with those who say the apples would go to waste, or kids who normally would have apple slices with their Happy Meal will throw out the fries.

    Since the time my son was 6 1/2 his routine has been Monday, Wednesday and/or Friday he rides the bus with mom to work, he hangs out in the crew room for 10-20 minutes, Dad arrives, picks him up and they go home where dad cooks a meal for the two of them or there is something in the oven, crockpot or leftovers are heated up from one of the nights I was home to cook a meal. Saturday if I work daytime, I come home and make something. We watch hockey, football and stock car races which means we get bombarded with messages to eat at fast food restaurants like Wendy's, McDonalds, Burger King or Tim Horton's. We've taught our son that just because something is advertised doesn't mean you HAVE to eat it or drink it. About every 4-6 weeks we do eat at McDonalds, however due to my son being 9, he likes a 6 nugget meal, no sauce, ketchup, fries, and a bottled water. He's totally at ease with the fact that he can't drink pop or fruit juice because his body metabolizes the sugar so fast, he gets a sugar buzz. When he was still small enough a Happy Meal filled him up, we got him cookies instead of the toy.

    At work I have heard "Why can't I have apple slices?" and the parent say "You'd don't need desert with your meal, fries are made from a vegetable" or "Just have ice tea. If you spill that it won't stink up the car the way the milk will" or "No, it costs extra for bottle water, just have a pop" (you can't afford a lousy 20 CENTS extra, 10 cents of which you'll get back when you return the bottle at a depot?). It's about CHOICE and ACCOUNTABILITY. The government and do-gooders can put all the pressure they want on the restaurant but there are people who only think about convenience or are ignorant about food.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. KatieKatie

    Throwing in hormone-laden milk and chemical-soaked apples that never brown does not make this food healthy. It's just a fun place to go for junk food every once in a while. It is simply not a nutritious place and would have to undergo massive changes if it ever truly wanted to be.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. CJ

    This is a sad meal. Why do you only get half an apple?

    July 26, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. unowhoitsme

    Could you supersize that for me?

    July 26, 2011 at 18:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Penngirl03

    It drives me bonkers that McDonalds gets such a bad rap. Honestly, if you go to pretty much any chain restaurant (I'm not talking fast food here, more like olive garden, applebees, etc), the calorie content is much higher in their kids meals than at McDonalds. The portion sizes are out of control. This is frankly one of the biggest problems facing our nation. Kudos for mcdonalds putting in Apple slices. Fresh fruit is much needed in kids diets. Portion control for everyone is key. The little toys in the Happy Meal aren't really enticing kids that much to get the food at mcdonalds. It's been a while since I saw a macdonald's ad that featured the current toy. The most recent one I have seen has been the one with the kids looking for hope in their happy meals and talking about ronald mcdonald house which is an amazing charity.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andy

      I agree with you, McDonalds seems to bear the brunt of all food-health related criticism...I guess if you're the one at the top of the mountain, you become everyone's target.

      July 26, 2011 at 19:26 | Report abuse |
  33. Nic-hole

    5 months ago I took responsibility for my own overweight-ness. I'm 48 yo, lost 63 lbs & am now at my HS graduating weight. I haven't starved & I haven't missed McDonalds at all ... if you're fat, it's not Ronalds fault, it's yours.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Responsible Parent

    McDonalds has always provided these healthy alternatives as replacements for all their meals. This is not new. I don't know why this is a story.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. trixen

    Good to see they're finally listening to their customers. While it's true that it's the parents' job to ensure their kids received proper nutrition, McDonald's realizes that failure to offer what their customers want could potentially cost McDonald's a hefty chunk of their market share. Don't misread this as, "McDonald's cares about your kids." They don't. This is about pleasing their customer base to keep them from going somewhere else. This is smart business... nothing more, nothing less.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • trixen

      *receive* =P typo

      July 26, 2011 at 18:41 | Report abuse |
    • bandmom12

      they have been offering apples for many years, and I have had children beg for apples and the parent say no get fries.

      July 26, 2011 at 19:36 | Report abuse |
  36. Reality Check

    Ban ALL unhealthy / unsafe things -or- let the free market do it's job.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Popejon

    I think they should bring back lead tainted glasses they had back in the 70's. It would make for great cheap glasses. So what if your kids want one because of the colorful cartoon characters painted on the glasses with lead base paint. After all its all about restraint and moderation. Just a little bit of lead here and there wont hurt anybody... Besides, its more important that I get cheap lead contaminated glasses and McDonald keeps their share holders happy....

    July 26, 2011 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seaburger

      Mr. Pope ... McDonalds will only keep their shareholders happy as long as you're buying their product, so don't buy it -or- buy only the good stuff & they will sell more of it & everyone's happy meal is a happy one.

      July 26, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
    • Popejon

      OK, I guess you missed the whole sarcasm thing.... By the way, there is no such thing as "good stuff" at McDonald's. That goes for both taste and nutrition....

      July 26, 2011 at 19:02 | Report abuse |
  38. Ha!

    What are the apples going to be made out of? Fishbones and sugar.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Chubbub

    Freedom of EATS ... it's the way I express myself. It's as much a political statement, free speech, artistic expression & is my consttiutional right !!

    July 26, 2011 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. The Grand Poobah

    My kids don't eat at McDonalds. We don't take them there. Its f-ing SIMPLE.

    July 26, 2011 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Todd

      What a novel concept.

      July 26, 2011 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
  41. J. E.

    What about vegetarian options?

    July 26, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Jennifer J

    Just a thought here....What would happen if instead of patronizing McDonald's, responsible party prepared a simple peanut butter (natural style sans sugar or salt) sandwich on whole grain bread accompanied by some raw veggies or fruit? Absolutely NO ONE needs to eat french fries!!!

    July 26, 2011 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Reality Check

      You are correct Jennifer J, however this isn't about NEED, it's about CHOICE. It's McDonalds choice to sell it & our choice to buy it. Restaraunts are about convenience & are considered a treat (at least where I'm from) & if a restaraunt sold whole wheat nutella sandwiches they'd be out of business.

      July 26, 2011 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
  43. Patrick

    Burger, hot dog, fake Italian pizza, sugar and soda, the best of American cuisine!!! are "dog food" and a recipe for obesity... reason why 25 % or more of the US population is obese...!!! and one in five teenager is also obese, that’s 20% of the teenagers population, keep on feeding your kids “dog food”!!!instead of real food cooked at home…
    American mothers should get off their fat “bun” and start learning how to cook to feed real food to their kids instead of dog food. Parents of obese teenagers should be arrested and thrown in jail, anybody can cook healthy food but, buying dog food is the easy way out and who pays the consequences of the lazy mothers?, the kids….
    Don’t give me the two parents working line…. You choose to work and if you need to have two salaries you are probably living over your needs… – too big house, more cars than you need, etc., etc., -

    July 26, 2011 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • blv

      Amen. But don't diss dog food... Ours comes from the vet and costs $70/ bag for dry and $40/ case for wet. For 1 dog of 2. And my kid wouldn't get within 1 mile of McD's, BK, etc.

      July 26, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse |
    • guest

      glad you have a woman at home to blame patrick. i agree with most of what you say except that it's the mom's fault. don't you have any say in what your spouse cooks? don't you ever do the cooking? yikes dude!

      July 26, 2011 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
  44. Bearz

    Will 5 pieces of Apple off set 4 hunks of deep fried sill-putty?

    July 26, 2011 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Fritz

    When will we, as a society, stop blaming other people and blame those who are truly responsible for the childhood obesity. The Parents! They aren't forced to go eat at McDonald's or any other fast food restaurant. Go to the grocery store, buy some good food and make it yourself and stop blaming others, and take responsibility for your own actions America!

    July 26, 2011 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • guest

      good call fritz! it's alot less expensive and much healthier if you actually cook for your family. i bought 5 cookbooks at the library's booksale for $3. i bought those books even though i know how to cook. it's always nice to look up new ideas. so many parents that i know say " my kids won't eat that". when i was young my grandmother always told me "taste it". so many of those things that i tasted turned out to be delicious, i'm still eating even though i am 50 years old now. open your minds parents!

      July 26, 2011 at 22:38 | Report abuse |
  46. sharky

    McDonald's new slogan should be: "We're The Parents, Because You Don't Know How To Be One."

    July 26, 2011 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. dman74

    Regardless of the efforts, 410 calories with 19g of fat is a meal fit for a 240 lb man dietary-wise. I am proud to say that my kids do not know what a happy meal is. Apples or not, my kids do not suffer the McDonald's fatness problem. And it's not because there are apples in the happy meals, it is because I don't freakin' take them there to eat.

    July 26, 2011 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • guest

      yay! you are part of the solution darlin! thank you!

      July 26, 2011 at 22:47 | Report abuse |
  48. GuyNemeth

    McDonalds should have kept Happy Meals the way they were. You can give them the option of the apples, but don't make it the default. I was watching a show on TV the other night about the case against McDonalds, and man their representatives are so good. They must train them well because all their answers were amazing and bad ass at the same time. McDonald's is such a bad ass company. I wouldn't doubt that this change is based on projected revenue rather than catering to horrible parents. Go McDonalds!

    July 26, 2011 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Whatever

    I think I can figure out what is good for my children without help from that orangutang looking first lady and her Dumbo eared husband. Let me make MY OWN choices. Or is the 4th Reich????

    July 26, 2011 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Popejon

      Your an idiot. McDonald's made this choice on their own. Maybe you should have your kids read the article and explain this to you....

      July 26, 2011 at 21:27 | Report abuse |
    • guest

      you sound completely racist. orangutan? get off the blog already? you're gross!

      July 26, 2011 at 22:50 | Report abuse |
  50. Jeff Commissaris

    So I guess McDonald's is officially responsible for your child's health? Not you, the parent? This apple will simply get thrown in the trash or the curb when they aren't looking. McD's is just trying to avoid the "finger" of the often unspoken obesity epedemic.

    July 26, 2011 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
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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.