In response to looming criticisms about enticing children to eat unhealthy foods, McDonald’s has decided to make a slight adjustment to it’s iconic Happy Meal. The amount of french fries will be halved and served with a fruit side, reducing the calorie content of the meal by about 20 percent. This move, according to the New York Times, will do little to quiet critics that feel that the appealing Happy Meal box and included toy are inviting kids to eat poorly. San Francisco recently banned restaurants from including toys with kids meals unless certain nutritional standards are met and a similar measure is pending in New York City.
McDonald’s is not the only chain to address this issue; Jack in the Box recently scrapped their kids meal toy, while Burger King joined more than a dozen other chains in backing an effort to promote healthier meals for young customers.

In addition to reducing the fries for it’s little ones, McDonald’s claims that by 2015 it will reduce the sodium content in all foods by fifteen percent and that the rest of the decade will be dedicated to adjusting sugars, saturated fats, calories and portion sizes.

McDonald’s surveyed parents about eliminating fries altogether, as well as the soda option and found that they were met with complaints. “That’s what we’ve really felt all along, that ultimately, it’s a parent decision to make about their child’s well-being,” said Dayna Proud, a company spokesperson.
Is this a step in the right direction? Or just a small tweak that will garner big press? Ultimately, does Mickey D’s have the responsibility of making sure that kids eat healthy? Or are parents who fail to recognize that fast food should be a treat, not a daily meal, the ones to blame? Speak!

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  • Future Mrs. Banks

    As an 80’s baby I can say that I had my fair share of McDonald’s and happy meals. Happy meals always had toys in them, always if there is no toy it’s not as happy. In fact I can remember not eating all my fries or caring for the cheeseburger either. I just wanted the toy especially if it was a toy sponsored by a movie coming out.

    Until a four year old can get in a car dive themselves to the nearest Mickey D’s and place an order for a happy meal pay for it with their own money then maybe I could see parents getting angry. Be a parent and parent what your children eatmine did. Much like parents getting mad at establishments banning children take responsibility for your own stop wanting everyone to change cause you can’t do your job.

  • Alexandra

    I respect their effort, but I also think they should try revamping their entire menu, not just the kids menu. When I babysit my young nephew I never buy him fast-food, I always cook for him instead.

  • Jenn

    I support the concept of corporate responsibility along side parental responsibility. Calories can be cut by 20% in most meals simply by eliminating the sauce on a sandwich.

    Whatever the criticism this is a great step in the right direction. Fruit should be the norm, not the alternative in a kids meal. When I worked in fast food I always made sure to ask which side a customer wanted. Often, if asked, the kids would *choose* apples and milk. It was the parents who assumed they wanted french fries. The same with gendered toys. I always asked which toy a child wanted and many parents were surprised when their child chose a toy that was marketed toward the opposite gender.