Happy Meals Get Healthier
McDonald's will add fruit, remove some of the fries
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2011 8:30 AM CDT
Shown is a Happy Meal at a McDonald's restaurant in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 8, 2010.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(Newser) – Are Happy Meals soon to become Healthy Meals? Well, at least healthier: McDonald's, under pressure from nutrition advocates, will add a serving of fruit or vegetables to all of the children's meals, the LA Times reports. But the French fries will still be included, albeit in a smaller serving size. Mickey D's says it tried to eliminate the fries entirely, but customers simply expect fries in their Happy Meals: "When we did it without fries, there was a huge disappointment factor," says the company's US president.

The new serving of fries will be 1.1 ounces, down from the previous 2.4 ounces. The healthy side item will often be apple slices, but carrots, raisins, pineapple slices, and mandarin oranges may also be served. On average, the changes will result in 20% fewer calories—and no increased prices for customers. The fast food chain started offering apple slices and caramel sauce instead of fries in Happy Meals in 2004, but only 11% of meals were actually ordered with the apple option. The new version, which rolls out in September and will be everywhere by April, ditches the caramel sauce.