McDonald's Will Only Offer 'Healthy' Happy Meals In The US This Summer

McDonald's Happy Meal

This morning, multiple news outlets in Australia reported that McDonald's is removing cheeseburgers from the Happy Meal menu in a bid to encourage kids to make healthier choices.

Among the near-term changes planned for June, McDonald's said all meal combinations offered on U.S. Happy Meal menu boards will be 600 calories or fewer and comply recommended nutritional criteria for added sugar and saturated fat.

In the US this year, McDonalds plans to reformulate the chocolate milk to reduce the amount of added sugar, and later this year, bottled water will be added as a featured beverage choice on Happy Meal menu boards. Cheeseburgers will no longer be an option for the Happy Meal, and water will become the default beverage given.

Diners will still be able to ask for cheeseburgers or chocolate milk with the kids' meal, but the company said banishing them from menus will reduce how often they are ordered. That's one of the changes McDonald's will be making to offer more nutritious food for kids. In 2011, they added apple slices to their kids' meals. Both the cheeseburger and chocolate milk will be available on request, however.

Chocolate milk is also off the menu.

McDonald's Italy Junior Chicken
McDonald’s Italy launched a new Junior Chicken sandwich for its Happy Meals

McDonalds' said in a press release, "Today, McDonald's announced an expanded commitment to families, supporting the company's long-term global growth plan by leveraging its reach to impact children's meals, access to reading, and keeping families together through Ronald McDonald House Charities". The company is also aiming to have less than 10 percent of each meal's calories come from saturated fat and added sugar.

Customers located in the United States will begin to see this menu change materialize as early as June. Bottled water will be added to Happy Meal menus, too. Families with kids tend to choose McDonald's over rivals, elevating the importance of appealing to consumers who want their kids to eat healthier. You can still get your classic Happy Meal with the burger, coke and fries; it just won't be as visible as it used to be.

Though the meals certainly have improved over the years - with the addition of fruit options, reduction in fry size and the removal of soda from the menu listings, for example - the children's meals still leave quite a lot to be desired in the nutrition department.

More people are attempting to lead healthier lifestyles and it seems that McDonald's is following the trend.

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