McDonald's, Burger King Vow to make Kid's Meals Healthier

McDonald's has announced that newer, healthier kid's menu tweaks will be implemented in the near future.

McDonald’s has announced that newer, healthier kid’s menu tweaks will be implemented in the near future, such as including apple slices in Happy Meals. Beginning in September, Happy Meals will no longer have the option of fries or apple slices because they will come with both. There will be a half-serving (quarter cup) of sliced apples and a half-serving of fries (1.1 ounces) but kids will have the option of going fry-less and getting a full serving of apples.

The company stated that, while nearly 9 out of 10 customers currently know about the apple option in Happy Meals, approximately 11% have actually been opting for the fruit over the fries. Also, McDonald’s will soon be offering healthier beverages for kids, such as fat-free chocolate milk and 1% low fat milk. The company has been looking into adding additional fruit/vegetable options for Happy Meals to issue in coming years as well.

More than 15,000 other eateries across the country have signed on to offer 600-calorie children’s meals that feature two servings of fruit, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy, according to the National Restaurant Association. The 19 chains offering these meals, including Burger King, IHOP, and Friendly’s, will follow federal recommendations for salt, fat, and sugar along with having to offer a side dish of 200 calories or less.

This initiative was met with strong support from New York doctors and parents who saw the idea as a step in the right direction. “It’s a charge that is long overdue since parents take their children to restaurants as a treat,” said Karen Congro, director of the Wellness for Life Program at the Brooklyn Hospital Center.

Recently, the fast food industry has been under fire for serving salt-laden, high-calorie treats that some experts fear is feeding the country’s obesity epidemic. Efforts in San Francisco and New York to ban toys from children’s meals are also underway.

The restaurants agree to serve meals that garner 35% of calories from fat, 35% of calories from sugar, and have less than 770 milligrams of sodium. “We’ll be adding restaurants and adding menu options. This is just the first step,” said National Restaurant Association spokeswoman Katie Laning Niebaum.

Around the Web

Fast food menus for kids get healthy makeover; 19 chains to offer healthier options for children [The New York Daily News]

McDonald's To Make Apple Slices Mandatory In Happy Meals [The Consumerist]