In an effort to slim down its infamous Happy Meal, McDonald’s is removing cheeseburgers and chocolate milk from its value deal to minimize the calories, sodium, saturated fat, and sugar kids consume at its restaurants.
While diners can still ask for the two menu staples with the kid’s meal, removing them from the menu will reduce how much they’re ordered. Since the restaurant removed soda from its Happy Meal menu four years ago, orders have dropped 14%.
The Happy Meal has long been a target of health advocates and parents, who link it to childhood obesity. McDonald’s is constantly refining its offering, including cutting the size of fries, and adding fruit options.
The new menu will feature across the U.S. by June.
“It’s a good step in the right direction,” said Margo Wootan, the vice-president for nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “We would love to see many more restaurants do the same.”
McDonald’s is setting benchmarks for its most popular meal – under 600 calories, and less than 650 milligrams of sodium.
That’s not all: McDonald’s six-piece chicken nugget Happy Meal will be served with kids-sized fries instead of a standard small, reducing calories and sodium from the fries by half. Bottled water will be an added option, too, though it’ll cost extra; soda isn’t on the menu, but doesn’t cost extra either.
For international restaurants, McDonald’s says that at least half the Happy Meal options available must meet the new nutritional guidelines. Some chains are adding new menu items to fall in line with the new mandate, like in Italy, where a grilled chicken sandwich was added to the Happy Meal menu.
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