For the past few years McDonald’s has made changes to the chain’s kids-friendly Happy Meal in order for it to be healthier.
In 2017 the fast food chain switched out Minute Maid juice for an Honest Kids organic version. Back in 2011 McDonald’s added apple slices to every Happy Meal. And now the company says that by 2022 at least 50 percent or more of kids meal options will meet their “Happy Meal nutrition criteria.”
NPR reports that means meals will have 600 calories or less, no more than 10 percent of calories will be from saturated fat, there will be no more than 650 mg of sodium, and no more than 10 percent of calories will come from added sugar. McDonald’s will also shrink the size of fries kids get with their Happy Meal and are looking into a less sugary chocolate milk option. But the biggest change to the kids meals will be that cheeseburgers will drop off entirely, The Washington Post reports.
While the idea of going to McDonald’s as a child and not leaving with a delicious, artery-clogging cheeseburger brings me great sadness, it’s more of a lesson in making choices. Reuters reports that the chain’s US restaurants will still offer Happy Meal cheeseburgers but only on request. When McDonald’s took sodas off the Happy Meal, it made people choose water, milk, or juice instead, so the idea is that by not including burgers as the default it will lead people to pick healthier alternatives.
McDonalds is also currently testing healthier options outside of the US in places like Italy, where there’s a grilled chicken sandwich for kids, and Australia where restaurants are exploring new vegetable and protein options. So perhaps by 2022 the Happy Meal will just be replaced with a sensible wheatgrass shot and some kale chips.