McDonald's will soon banish cheeseburgers and chocolate milk from its Happy Meal menu in an effort to cut down on the calories, sodium, saturated fat, and sugar that kids consume at its restaurants. Diners can still ask specifically for cheeseburgers or chocolate milk with the kid's meal, but the fast-food company said that not listing them will reduce how often they're ordered. Since it removed soda from the Happy Meal menu four years ago, orders for it with Happy Meals have fallen 14%, the company said. The Happy Meal has long been a target of health advocates and parents who link it to childhood obesity. McDonald's has made many tweaks over the years, including cutting the size of its fries and adding fruit. Most recently, it swapped out its apple juice for one that has less sugar, reports the AP.
The latest changes will occur in the US by June. McDonald's said Thursday that it wants all of its Happy Meal options to have 600 calories or fewer and have less than 650 milligrams of sodium. It also wants less than 10% of the meal's calories to come from saturated fat and added sugar. The cheeseburger and chocolate milk didn't meet those new standards. The company is working to cut sugar from the chocolate milk and believes it'll be back on the Happy Meal menu eventually—but doesn't know when that will happen. There will be other tweaks: the six-piece chicken nugget Happy Meal will now come with a kid-size fries instead of a small, lowering calories and sodium from the fries by half. And bottled water will be added as an option to the Happy Meal menu, though that will cost extra.
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