HealthBeat

HealthBeat

Happy Meal parents aren’t happy

McDonald’s announced Thursday it was removing cheeseburgers and chocolate milk from its Happy Meals.

The internet reacted as one would expect.

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McDonald’s has been working with the nonprofit Alliance for a Healthier Generation since the fast food chain began offering sliced apples in Happy Meals in 2013.

The McDonald’s menu changes since then have been successful.

Since removing soda from the Happy Meals menu in the U.S. McDonald’s has seen double-digit percentage shifts to water, milk and juice. In the U.S., McDonald’s served an average of 108 clementines per minute while supplies lasted in 2016.

So, over the next four years, McDonald’s will make more changes to its Happy Meal menu worldwide. In the U.S., changes will begin in June.

Beginning this June, all meal combinations will have 600 calories or fewer and meet new nutrition criteria for added sugar and saturated fat; 78 percent will meet requirements for sodium.

McDonald’s will also remove cheeseburgers and chocolate milk from the Happy Meals menu. Customers can still order cheeseburgers, of course, and chocolate milk.

Six-piece Chicken McNugget Happy Meals will soon come with kid-size fries, rather than small. And later this year, bottled water will be added to the Happy Meal menu.

These changes will reduce calories by 20 percent, added sugars by 50 percent, saturated fat by 13 percent and sodium by 17 percent.

Bring on the Unhappy Meals!

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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