The details most news outlets have missed: Soda remains an option, the portion of apples is tiny, and the meal still has a toy
McDonald's sent out a press release yesterday to announce changes to its Happy Meals that will make them "healthier."
Healthier? Not quite. The company is announcing a "Commitment to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices" [my emphasis]:
The comprehensive plan aims to help customers—especially families and children—make nutrition-minded choices whether visiting McDonald's or eating elsewhere.
Menu changes underway include the addition of more nutritionally-balanced choices that meet McDonald's reputation for great taste and affordability, along with an increased focus on providing nutrition information that enable customers and employees to make simple, informed menu decisions.
McDonald's says that by the end of this year it will automatically include produce or a low-fat dairy option in every Happy Meal. It will:
- Automatically include produce (apple slices, a quarter cup or half serving)
- Automatically include a new smaller size French fries (1.1 ounces)
- Automatically reduce the sodium by 15 percent or more
I emphasize "automatically" because it means the default. If you order a Happy Meal, that's what you get. Research shows that most people stick with the default. If the default is a healthy meal, kids have a better chance of getting one.
Everything else is your choice:
- Hamburger, Cheeseburger, or Chicken McNuggets.
- "Beverage, including new fat-free chocolate milk and 1% low fat white milk"