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The new McDonald’s Happy Meal reduces fries, keeps toy

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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