McDonald’s to take cheeseburgers and chocolate milk off the Happy Meal menu
If you’re like me and end up cruising through a McDonald’s drive-thru with your kids a few times a
year month, you’ll be glad to know the fast food giant is taking steps to make Happy Meals slightly less unhealthy. I can’t say they’re making them healthy with a straight face, because let’s be real, but something is definitely better than nothing when it comes to helping our kids make better choices.
As of June 2018, McDonald’s will be removing both cheeseburgers and chocolate milk from their Happy Meal menu options. They’re also reducing the french fry serving from the six-piece chicken McNugget Mighty meal for bigger kids by half. According to Reuters, the changes are in an effort to make all Happy Meals 600 calories or less with 10 percent of calories coming from saturated fat, 650 mg of sodium, and 10 percent of calories from added sugar.
The cheeseburger and chocolate milk will still be available for people to order as part of a Happy Meal, but they won’t be listed as menu options for Happy Meals in the U.S. as of this June. That means customers can still have these items put in Happy Meals by request, but the hope is to nudge people into making slightly healthier choices by making the menu items less visible.
This is good, right? It’s progress. It’s better than nothing. On those busy nights full of music lessons and sports practices, a zoom through the McDonald’s drive-thru is wildly convenient and usually, something every kid will eat. Until there are drive-thrus offering steamed veggies and sliced up grilled chicken, healthier Happy Meals will be nice to have.
Some took to Twitter saying this is just a silly PR move, that in order to keep kids healthier, we need to just scrap Happy Meals altogether.
Calories in a 6-pc chicken mcnuggets (current Happy Meal option)- 270
Calories in a cheeseburger (no longer an option)- 300
If McDonald's truly wants to only offer food that is healthy for kids, they should just end Happy Meals altogether. Otherwise this is just a dumb PR move. https://t.co/S0idTlIODe
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) February 15, 2018
I agree children should be healthier. But taking your kids to McDonalds—any fast food restaurant—is not an effort to be healthy in the first place. Fast food should be an occasional treat, not the norm. So much #marketing subterfuge in fast food. Calories, sodium and sugar fest! https://t.co/mRuVo03sLs
— Matthew Tessnear (@MatthewTessnear) February 15, 2018
But let’s think about the changes in fast food, even since we were kids. I used to have orange soda with mine, which you can still order now instead of the milk or juice currently offered, but soda isn’t listed as a Happy Meal menu option anymore. Which means fewer parents include it when grabbing their kids’ fast food dinners. According to WISHTV, sales of soda ordered with Happy Meals have fallen 14 percent since soft drinks were removed from the menu four years ago. Some kids skipping soda for dinner is better than no kids.
We also used to get that cute little bag of shortbread cookies in the shapes of McDonald’s characters. Now, our kids get apple slices. Things are getting better, and that’s nothing to shrug off. As long as fast food exists, parents will be buying it for their kids. Having healthier choices and one less reason for our kids to ask for high calorie and high sodium items for dinner is never a bad thing.