McDonald’s has made a slew of changes to its Happy Meal menu in an effort to cut back on calories, sodium, sugar and saturated fat.
Starting this year in the US, cheeseburgers will no longer be listed as a Happy Meal choice, but will still be available upon request. The chain is also temporarily nixing chocolate milk from Happy Meals as it works on replacing the current offering with one that has less sugar. Bottled water will be added as a featured beverage choice on Happy Meal menu boards as well.
According to McDonald’s, the changes mean 100% of Happy Meal combinations in the US will be 600 calories or fewer by June of this year.
The fast-food chain’s Mighty Kid’s Meal, which is typically marketed to teenagers and pre-teens, will now offer kids-sized fries with six-piece chicken nugget meals instead of small fries, a change that McDonald’s says “decreases the calories and sodium in the fries serving by half.”
The adjustment are the latest in a string of changes McDonald’s has made over the years in an effort to make its choices for kids healthier. In 2011, it began including Apple Slices in all Happy Meals along with a reduced portion of fries. Two years later, the company stopped marketing and promoting soda as a beverage option for Happy Meals.
In December, the chain began offering a new apple juice variety with Happy Meals that it says has 45 fewer calories and half the total sugar than the prior one.
McDonald’s has been on the up and up as of late, the result of a massive turnaround strategy implemented three years ago by its chief executive Steve Easterbrook. The implementation of all-day breakfast and a revamped menu have helped the chain come back from years of sluggish sales. Last month, same-store sales at US locations climbed 4.5%.