Soon to feature more nutrition and fewer fries. Image: Christian Heinel/Flickr/CC BY-SA

McDonald’s announced Tuesday that it will make its Happy Meals more healthy. The announcement comes on the heels of the National Restaurant Association’s new Kids LiveWell initiative.

Healthier Happy Meals

McDonald’s will be making in its children’s box meals, called Happy Meals, more healthy. The fast food giant said it will add apple slices and half the number of fries in each meal. In addition, the company will be phasing out the caramel dipping sauce it currently serves with its apple slices. The changes will take effect in the fall.

New app for nutritional info

McDonald’s also announced on Tuesday a new app that gives nutritional information on its menu items. A menu that McDonald’s says will soon have reduced calories, sugars and saturated fats.

Reasons for the change

The move comes partially in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s push to combat childhood obesity with healthier eating choices. Partially, it is a reaction to San Francisco’s ban last November of toys in restaurant meals that don’t meet certain health requirements.

But most immediately, the announcement comes after the July 13 unveiling of the NRA’s Kids LiveWell program, a nationwide initiative designed to give parents and children more healthy eating options outside of the home.

Kids LiveWell

Dawn Sweeney, CEO of the NRA, talked about the program in a press release:

“Kids LiveWell underscores that restaurants can be part of the solution to ensuring a healthier generation and providing consumer choice in dining options. More than 15,000 restaurant locations are participating in this initial launch and offering their young guests a selection of Kids LiveWell choices, and we look forward to announcing additional restaurants and menu options in the coming months.”

Restaurants participating in the program agree to offer and promote selections which meet certain standards formulated from the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines.

Participating restaurants

Nineteen major restaurant chains have signed on for the program so far. They are Au Bon Pain, Bonefish Grill, Burger King, Burgerville, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Chevys Fresh Mex, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Corner Bakery Cafe, Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, El Pollo Loco, Friendly’s, IHOP, Joe’s Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse, Silver Diner, Sizzler, T-Bones Great American Eatery and Zpizza.


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