Hello Apple Slices!

French fries in kids' meals are so 2010. Beginning this September, McDonald's Happy Meals will contain half the amount of french fries. A portion of the deep fried potatoes are being replaced with apple slices, hold the caramel dipping sauce. Will these changes make Happy Meals healthier?

McDonald's Happy Meal

McDonald's has done the unthinkable -- it has downsized the french fries in its kids' Happy Meals. Actually, this isn't the first time the fast food giant has cut portion sizes, but this is a big overhaul for the Happy Meal.

Instead of choosing between french fries or apple slices, kids will now receive a standard split in their Happy Meal: Half the amount of french fries and a serving of apples slices. No worries for the kids who love their McDonald's Happy Meal toys, though -- those are staying.

McDonald's and other fast food joints have faced some pretty intense public scrutiny for their unhealthy fare recently. Last year, the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco voted to restrict toys in kids' meals. While the company claims that McDonald's Happy Meal changes are not an effort to avoid regulation, some critics are skeptical.

What do the new Happy Meals look like nutritionally? Well, the old serving size of french fries was 2.4 ounces. That has been slashed to 1.1 ounces. Add in the apple slices -- which won't include sugary caramel sauce -- and the total calories are reduced by around 20%, leaving Happy Meals under the 600 calorie mark.

As Fox points out, the current lowest calorie Happy Meal you can order would contain a four-piece order of Chicken McNuggets with apples and apple juice. This contains 12 grams of fat and 380 calories. So taking away the choice of fries or apples slices will beef up the calorie content of this meal.

On the other hand, the highest calorie Happy Meal is a cheeseburger with fries and 1 percent milk. It contains 700 calories and 27 grams of fat. The new Happy Meal will reduce the calorie content of this Happy Meal.

What do you think of the changes to the McDonald's Happy Meals? Are you happy with the half-portion fries and included apple slices?


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Comments on "The new McDonald's Happy Meal reduces fries, keeps toy"

Shad August 14, 2011 | 9:30 AM

I agree Paula. As far as I knew McDonald's wasn't run by the government. We are setting a precedent here for the food industry that dictates what kind of food they can serve. Not the quality of the food. Essentially they are taking away are ability to choose. This is a fine line that can easily be crossed and is not ease to cross back over. If you are a parent and concerned about this the answer is simple, don't take your kids to McDonald's. I don't look for the government to take care of all the problems in the world, some choices should be left to us right? Removing the toy is a whole other issue. Precedents for fair marketing practices, so companies can't event choose how to compete unless its deemed "fair". Now the government gets to decide that too. We are just handing it away folks, we are competent enough to make these decisions on our own.

Katherine August 05, 2011 | 6:52 AM

While I don't think Happy Meals should be an every day item, when I do take my daughter to McDonald's she should have the right to buy a standard Happy Meal -- and that does not include being forced to accept a tiny portion of fries and chemical doused apples. We'll be going to McDonald's much less often once this takes effect. And if we do go, I'm guessing that we will be adding fries off the Dollar Menu to the Happy Meal and tossing out the apples. And I'm quite sure we won't be the only ones. Lots of apples are going to end up in the trash and McDonald's is going to sell a lot of extra orders of fries unless the public takes a stand and refuses to buy the new Happy Meals. Yes, some food is unhealthy -- but this is America and we are supposed to be able to choose what we want to eat without the nanny state dictating our choices.

RachEJ July 29, 2011 | 10:52 AM

I like the fact that perhaps a huge corporation is recognizing how unhealthy they are...however, since my kids don't eat mcdonald's hardly EVER now, i don't mind when they eat fries with their cheeseburgers- it's a special treat, like when it was for me when i was growing up. Fast food was a novelty, NOT a staple...

Sarah P July 28, 2011 | 2:13 PM

My kids always get the apples & they don't even know they come with caramel because I toss it right away. I'm happy that all the meals will be healthier. I was excited because I heard there would be more choices (more fruits & vegetables), but it looks like that's not happening right away, which is a little disappointing. At least it's a move in the right direction.

Charlotte July 28, 2011 | 1:56 PM

I have always thought it should be an option, but being a parent is a tough job, and as a parent it is my job to choose when and what my children can have. I don't want or expect the government to legislate my parental rights and responsibilities away. If I choose to treat my kids to a happy meal with fries an a toy, I should be able to!

Katherine July 27, 2011 | 3:09 PM

Their fry portions were never 2.4 oz around here--much less; I'd say our Mighty Kids meals, which are supposed to be larger than Happy Meals, averaged 6-8 fries.

Laura July 27, 2011 | 8:20 AM

My kids like the apples too. However, a friend of mine opened a package of the apples and put them out on a plate. She left them there for two weeks and they never turned brown! Hmmmm, maybe the grease and salt is better than the preservatives???

Paula S. July 26, 2011 | 10:09 PM

How do I feel about this? I like it a lot better when we lived in a FREE America and parents were allowed to make decisions for the children they gave birth to instead of a nanny state. Perhaps our government should "license" people before they are allowed to have children to be sure they have the ability to say "no".

Greta @gfunkified July 26, 2011 | 8:58 PM

My two oldest kids prefer the apples, and almost always want them instead of the fries. I'm not sure how I feel about the choice being taken away. Just having read this, it doesn't sit too well with me!

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