McDonald's has been working toward healthier kids meals for a few years now. It’s an uphill battle, but in 2017, the fast-food giant replaced Minute Made juices with Honest Kids organic juice -- six years after it added apple slices to every Happy Meal. Now, the company is aiming to have at least half of its kids meal options meet a “Happy Meal nutrition criteria” by 2022. And cheeseburgers aren't making the cut.
The "Happy Meal nutrition criteria" means that Happy Meals are to have no more than 600 calories; no more than 10% of calories from saturated fat; no more than 650mg of sodium; and no more than 10% of calories from added sugar. And all of that seems like a great idea. But -- and we hope this won't be a Santa Claus moment for you -- cheeseburgers aren't particularly healthy. They don't fit into the new nutritional plans.
"In June 2018, 100 percent of the meal combinations offered on Happy Meal menu boards in the U.S. will be 600 calories or fewer, and 100 percent of those meal combinations will be compliant with the new nutrition criteria for added sugar, saturated fat, and 78 percent compliant with the new sodium criteria," McDonald's said in a press release.
We all have fond memories of slugging a ketchup-covered burger and a Coke as a 6-year-old, and if you're upset about today's youths missing out on that, rest well knowing it's still possible. The cheeseburgers will still be available in Happy Meals upon request. However, fries will also be reduced from a small fry to a special kids size, and McDonald's is planning to switch to a lower-sugar chocolate milk. Normal burgers will remain on the menu.
Part of the goal here is to get people to reconsider how they order. McDonald's already took a similar approach to Happy Meal sodas in the hopes that our kids might drink juice or milk -- or even water. Maybe if the world doesn't default to beef patties and candy juice, we'll realize that there are in fact other options.