Fast food giant McDonald’s announced an effort to lighten up their kid-focused Happy Meals, and First Lady Michelle Obama ordered up a super-sized blessing for the chain’s nod toward health Tuesday.
By April, all 14,000 U.S. locations of McDonalds will serve a fruit or vegetable with each Happy Meal and will significantly cut the portion of french fries included, The Chicago Tribune reported. The changes will hit some stores as soon as September.
The restaurant’s previous experiment with replacing the fries with an apple proved to be a flop with customers.
“People come to McDonald’s and, first of all, they want the choice and the control to be theirs, but their expectation of a Happy Meal does include a fry,” Jan Fields, president of McDonald’s USA, told the Tribune. “When we did it without fries, there was a huge disappointment factor.”
The fry portion will be reduced by more than half. The holder that currently contains 2.4 ounces of potatoes will soon hold only 1.1 ounces. McDonald’s has also long offered the option of 1% milk instead of soda, and apple slices instead of french fries.
Obama, the leading crusader in the nation’s fight against childhood obesity, called the changes a positive step.
“McDonald’s is making continued progress today by providing more fruit and reducing the calories in its Happy Meals,” she said in a statement. “I’ve always said that everyone has a role to play in making America healthier, and these are positive steps toward the goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity.”
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
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