Beginning this upcoming September, children will be receiving apples with their McDonald’s Happy Meals — along with fewer fries.
McDonald’s initially experimented with completely removing French fries from the menu, but the company says children and parents rebelled in response. They decided to bring them back, but this time in a smaller portion. By the start of next year, McDonald’s will include a half-order of apples and a half-order of fries in their famous Happy Meal. But, customers will still have the option of getting a full order of one or the other instead.
McDonald’s states that at the moment, apples are available in Happy Meals instead of fries but the problem is that only 11 percent of people order them. The newly revamped Happy Meal will have 20-percent fewer calories and less sodium and saturated fat, so there’s no argument that this is a step forward as far as healthy fast food is concerned.
“I think it’s a great idea for how things are going today with kids and obesity,” said Sue Lynchey. Lynchey’s daughter, Lauren has even come forward and said that she’ll eat the apples.
McDonald’s will also be providing low-fat chocolate milk as yet another healthy improvement to its menu, but soda will still be available upon request.
“Most kids really like chocolate milk anyway instead of pop,” Sara Connelly said. For instance, her 6-year-old daughter, Rachel Meilenger, has said she will eat the apples, but has also explained that French fries are her favorite part of the Happy Meal.
Under the new program: McDonald’s pledged to reduce sugars, saturated fats and calories through “varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations” by 2020. It didn’t give details. By 2015, it will reduce sodium by 15 percent.
According to Cindy Goody, McDonald’s senior director of nutrition, these new changes are exactly what the customers have been requesting for quite some time now.
“We’ve been in the nutrition game for over 30 years in providing nutrition information to our customers,” Goody said. “Now what we’re doing is we’re adding more food groups and … creating nutritional awareness.”
Dr. Stephen Rothschild is a preventative medicine expert at Rush University Medical Center also stated, “McDonald’s has an enormous amount of influence on direct marketing to children. And so they have a very powerful voice. And adding apples to that voice is a good piece,” Dr. Rothschild said.
Goody further explained that they’re not getting rid of fries completely because “all foods fit when consumed in moderation.”