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.”

Follow @CNNHealth on Twitter

soundoff (1,332 Responses)
  1. Roof Repairs Near Me


    May 18, 2021 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Roof Company Near Me

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the finest blogs on the web. I most certainly will recommend this blog!


    May 18, 2021 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Social Media Marketing Orange County

    Great info. Lucky me I came across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I have book-marked it for later!


    May 19, 2021 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Maserati Font

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am encountering problems with your RSS. I don’t know why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 19, 2021 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. natural energy pills

    You're so awesome! I don't believe I have read something like that before. So great to discover someone with unique thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!


    May 19, 2021 at 04:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. best pills for energy


    May 19, 2021 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Roofing Repair Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 07:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Vision Doctors Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 2015 Maserati Granturismo

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your web site!


    May 19, 2021 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv door repair


    May 19, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Collision Repair California


    May 19, 2021 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. horse trailers california

    http://designmaster.com.br/designmarketing/redir.php?id_cliente=193&campanha=3757&email=andre@cdlcolatina.com.br &link=https://nedelnatko.cz/2017/05/sexbotiy/

    May 19, 2021 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. rv tire repair near me


    May 19, 2021 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Digital Marketing Company

    I was able to find good info from your articles.


    May 19, 2021 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Internet Marketing Specialist

    Having read this I believed it was extremely informative. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    May 20, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Video Marketing Consultant


    May 20, 2021 at 04:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Video Marketing Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Local Marketing Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Cristal Long

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    May 20, 2021 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Digital Marketing Experts


    May 20, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Amir Gallegos

    Great wordpress blog here.. It's hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care


    May 20, 2021 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. maintenance shops near me


    May 20, 2021 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Plumbing Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 19:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sprinter Van Rooftop A/C Leak Repair

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the rest of the website is really good.


    May 20, 2021 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. rv slide out remodel


    May 20, 2021 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Content Marketing Service


    May 21, 2021 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. camper van restoration


    May 21, 2021 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. cyclosporine

    cyclomune eye drops 1% cyclosporine eye drops

    May 21, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. body shop orange ca

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am having problems with your RSS. I don’t understand why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 21, 2021 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Dent Repair California

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Many thanks!


    May 21, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. SEO Marketing Company Near Me

    I was able to find good info from your articles.


    May 21, 2021 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv parts and repair

    I could not refrain from commenting. Very well written!


    May 21, 2021 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. rv floor repair cost


    May 21, 2021 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Solar Panels Systems California

    Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I'll send this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    May 21, 2021 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. rv storage orange ca

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the best blogs on the internet. I will highly recommend this web site!


    May 21, 2021 at 19:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. rv for sale orange county


    May 21, 2021 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. reupholster places near me

    After checking out a handful of the blog posts on your blog, I truly like your technique of blogging. I added it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website too and let me know what you think.


    May 22, 2021 at 04:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Countertops Near Me

    Good day! I just want to give you a huge thumbs up for the great info you have got right here on this post. I will be returning to your web site for more soon.


    May 22, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Center Near Me


    May 22, 2021 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. SEO Marketing Agency

    There is certainly a lot to learn about this subject. I really like all of the points you've made.


    May 23, 2021 at 04:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Washing Los Angeles

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after browsing through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly pleased I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!


    May 23, 2021 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Tembepteriope

    https://tadagatadalafil.com/ tadalafil without a doctor prescription https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – tadalafil without a doctor prescription cheapest tadalafil cost

    May 23, 2021 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. tausAffessy

    cialis at canadian pharmacy tadalafil tadalafil dosage https://tadagatadalafil.com/

    May 24, 2021 at 03:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Bedroom Riverside


    May 24, 2021 at 06:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Soosteemocush

    prescription tadalafil online https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – cialis without a prescription tadalafil cost in canada side effects of tadalafil tadalafil online

    May 24, 2021 at 06:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Tembepteriope

    https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ tadalafil generic https://tadalafilww.com/ – buy cialis pills buy generic cialis online with mastercard

    May 24, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. combigan

    generic brimonidine buy combigan online

    May 24, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Video Marketing Company

    It’s difficult to find knowledgeable people on this subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 24, 2021 at 09:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. combigan

    brimonidine dosage generic brimonidine

    May 24, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. hvac repair around fayetteville nc

    Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You're doing a great job Man,Keep it up.


    May 24, 2021 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

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.