Happy Meal loses weight

McDonald's execs are cutting calories from the kid-friendly meal

Last week McDonald’s USA president Jan Fields announced the company’s new long-term plan, Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices.

Starting in September, the Happy Meal will be getting a makeover in an effort to encourage kids to make nutritionally balanced choices. Smaller French fry portions plus apple slices (sans dipping caramel) will be included in every meal. If you’re really trying to get your kids to stay healthy, you can opt for two bags of apples instead of the fry portion. Kids will also be given a new drink option of one-percent low-fat milk, alongside the usual soda and juice offerings. These changes are part of the chain’s effort to reduce the overall calorie count by 20 percent.

And there are long-term goals for the rest of the chain’s menu. According to the campaign, “By 2020, McDonald’s will reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations.” Sodium levels will also be reduced by 15-percent within the next four years.

We’re happy to see they’re taking immediate action on the Happy Meals, but for the rest, we just have to ask: Why so long? With all the manpower a multinational company like McDonald’s must have on hand, we’re stumped as to why it’s going to take nine years for McDonald’s to reduce sugars and saturated fats in things like Big Macs. But hey, we guess baby steps are better than none at all if they’re headed in the right direction.

Just don’t go crazy at Mickey D’s yet. With only small changes in place, we’re thinking moderation is still the best policy.

What do you think Philly? Will you choose the healthy options next time you walk into McDonald’s?