Big Changes Coming to a Popular McDonald's Meal

Do you love -- or do you know a kid who loves -- McDonald's Happy Meals? Well, you (or the kid you know) should be aware that some changes are on the horizon for the popular meal.

McDonald’s recently announced that it was making health-conscious improvements to the Happy Meal across 120 global markets, Canada included.

In the Canadian market, McDonald's already meets local advertising pledges, and offers nutrition transparency related to Happy Meal bundles and all menu items,” said McDonald’s Canada in a recent statement. That said, the fast food giant will now strive to meet global menu goals.

According to McDonald’s Canada, 50 per cent or more of the Happy Meal offerings shown on menus will have:

  • Fewer than or equal to 600 calories
  • Less than or equal to 10 per cent of calories from saturated fat
  • Fewer than or equal to 650 milligrams of sodium
  • Less than or equal to 10 per cent of calories from added sugar

It’s no secret that McDonald’s Happy Meals aren’t healthy, and even with these changes, they still won’t be entirely “healthy” - but they will be more compliant with global menu standards, according to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

At a time with legislation is in the works to ban food and drink marketing that's directed towards children Canada-wide, the changes are more relevant than ever.

This is all well and good, but you might be wondering - what could the new Happy Meal menu look like?

For our southern neighbours in the U.S.A., McDonald’s plans to nix the classic McDonald’s cheeseburger from the menu (but it will still be available at a customer’s request), replace the small French fries with kids-sized fries in the six piece Chicken McNugget meal, and reformulate chocolate milk. McDonald’s U.S.A. will also be adding bottled water to the beverage choices for Happy Meals later this year.

Happy Meals here in Canada already include yogurt and have the option of including apple slices.

McDonald’s Canada plans to incorporate all of the the Happy Meal menu standards by 2022.

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