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McDonald’s Happy Meal Takes Healthy Turn


A McDonald's Cheeseburger Happy Meal with the new apple slices option is shown on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 in Pittsburgh. McDonald's Corp. says it is adding apple slices to every Happy Meal, part of the chain's larger push to paint itself as a healthy place to eat. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

First Sesame Street turned the cookie monster into the veggie monster. Now McDonald’s Happy Meals are being transformed into healthy meals.


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The push to make Americans eat healthier is a battle that has been raging for years and the health organizations of the country are picking up one victory after the next.

On Tuesday, Jan Fields, president of McDonald’s USA, announced the company’s newest attempt to prove their commitment to creating a healthier menu for McDonald’s customers. The food company will reduce the number of fries that come in a child’s Happy Meal. While they won’t eliminate fries as a choice all together, they will substitute a number of fries with an apple slice or other fruits, veggies and low-calorie snacks. In the press release posted on McDonald’s website, Fields also said they will promote better health choices through marketing initiatives.

In addition to adjusting the snacks in a Happy Meal, they are also working on making the actual meal options less fattening. The company plans to use less grease and salt during food preparation in an effort to cut calories. By 2015, McDonald’s has pledged to reduce the sodium in its food by 15 percent across its national menu of choices.

The company will also create its first app for the Iphone, Ipad, Blackberry and Android that will enable customers to have easy, on-the-go access to nutrition facts about the fast food menu. McDonald’s has invested money into researching the best way to both please customers and adhere to newer, stricter health standards set by the Council of Better Business Bureaus Food Pledge. The fast food chain said it has developed an expanded team of nutrition experts and expanded agricultural supply chain contracts to attain more knowledge and ability to make their foods better for customers nationwide.

The director of the University of Washington Center for Obesity Research, Adam Drewnowski commended McDonald’s for their new efforts towards a more nutritious menu. “I welcome and support today’s announcement by McDonald’s. These types of incremental improvements in popular meals can have a broad impact on public health,” Drewnowski told a McDonald’s representative.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock portrayed the horrid health affects that McDonald’s (and similar fast food places) have on regular customers in the film “Super-Size Me.”

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