Continuing with its campaign to improve the nutritional value of its menu, McDonald’s USA is automatically including apple slices in addition to fries to its Happy Meals beginning in September.
Jan Fields, president of McDonald’s USA, said during a July 26 webcast that by including the apples with the fries it will mean "no more food fights between parents and kids" because both items will be standard. The rollout of the new Happy Meals begins in September in select markets and should be nationwide with all 14,000 U.S. restaurants by the end of the first quarter of 2012.
In addition to adding peeled apple slices to the kids’ meals, McDonald’s is reducing the serving size of the fries in the kids meals. The Happy Meals have had 2.4 ounces of fries. That will be reduced to 1.1 ounces, equaling about 100 calories. The overall effect, according to a news release from McDonald’s, will be a 20% reduction in the calories of a traditional Happy Meal. The new meals will also be lower in fat.
The sliced, peeled apple packets in the new Happy Meals will be in ¼ cup servings and parents will have the option to request double apples and nix the fries. The restaurant chain is also introducing 1% chocolate milk along with its 1% white milk to help reduce overall fat intake for children.
McDonald’s officials are also considering whether to add other fresh produce options, including carrot sticks, to give parents even more healthful options. The apples in the Happy Meals do not have any added sugar.
And never fear, parents, the Happy Meals will still include toys.