New York City, NY-
McDonald's announced on Tuesday on Good Morning America that it will start including fruit or vegetables with their signature Happy Meal automatically. In the past, parents have had the option of fries or apple slices, but now McDonald's will default to both fries and fruit or a vegetable. They've made room for the healthy option by cutting the amount of unhealthy fries served in the Happy Meal by more than half, from 2.4 ounces to 1.1 ounces.
Apple slices are the primary healthy option, but the Happy Meal could include carrots, mandarin oranges, pineapples, or raisins as well depending on the region and time of year. McDonald's currently offers apple
slices with caramel dipping sauce, but will be removing the sauce with these changes.
According to Jan Fields, the president of McDonald's, the change will result in a full 20% decrease in calories, a 15% decrease in sodium and a 20% reduction in saturated fat on average. Fields also said, "we recognize the importance of fruit in a child's diet," and "We think both parents and children are going to absolutely love the changes that we're making."
The changes are set to take place in some areas as soon as September, with all 14,000 chains adopting the healthy options by next April.
McDonald's is the largest and most profitable restaurant chain, and as such has been the subject of the more severe criticism for health, quality, and marketing problems. McDonald's has announced it will also be changing its marketing strategy, with every marketing, advertising, and packaging item aimed at children to include a nutritional message.