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Happy Meal will have apples unless you ask for fries

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There will still be toys in the bags, but apples will soon reign supreme over French fries in the iconic McDonald's Happy Meal.

The fast food giant on Tuesday announced a long-term project to overhaul the Happy Meal, along with many adult items too, and generally improve the nutrition makeup of menu items.

For starters, the new Happy Meal will come with apple slices, not fries, as the standard option.

And for kids who pitch a protest and demand fries, they will come in a smaller size, 1.1 ounces, instead of the current 2.4-ounce bag. The caramel dipping sauce will go away.

Together, the choices could cut the overall calorie count by 20 percent.

Parents will still have the option of choosing chicken nuggets or burgers, and whatever drink they like – soda, milk, orange juice or water.

The prices won't change.

For now, the switch will go against the current of customer preferences.

McDonald's executives say that given the choice between fries and apples, only 11 percent of customers pick apples.

The changes are part of a multi-year drive at McDonald's to improve the nutrition makeup of its overall menu to have less sodium, lower fat options and more fruits, veggies and whole grains.

It's also part of a drive at McDonald's to shed its role as a major target in the debate over childhood obesity.

Happy Meals have long been a target of health advocates and even city councils, which fault them as ways to tempt kids into eating unhealthy fast food.

Asked if toys would go away, McDonald's officials said absolutely not.

"That's what makes them happy," said Jan Fields, president of McDonald's USA.

New Happy Meals will start appearing in restaurants in 10 markets this September, with a full rollout to all 14,000 U.S. locations by the second quarter next year.

Overall, they'll still weigh in at just under 600 calories.

by on Jul. 27, 2011 at 8:53 AM
Replies (11-20):
by on Jul. 27, 2011 at 5:12 PM

The "new" Happy meals will have fries just 1/2 the current serving and apples will now be part of the meal, not a choice.

Here's a link to CNN's article about it:

My kids get to have fast food on occasion but they don't eat the fries.

by on Jul. 27, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Other places are doing this as well. I have no problem with it.

by on Jul. 27, 2011 at 5:28 PM

I wouldnt care one way or another but I would let my kids pick BECAUSE we soooo rarely go there it was always a special treat when we did so they could get whatever they want and I am glad they arent getting rid of the toys bc that was part of the fun and special treat.

by on Jul. 27, 2011 at 8:13 PM

 A healthier choice is okay.

by on Jul. 27, 2011 at 8:37 PM

AWESOME! We always get the apples instead. We share a few of our fries with the girls, but they get the apples as their sides.

by on Jul. 27, 2011 at 11:25 PM

We don't eat there either unless we are traveling and that is all that is open.

I think it is a good idea, but kind of a sad attempt to make the meal healthier. 

by on Jul. 28, 2011 at 8:10 AM

 I tend to not even get my kids happy meals anymore - unless I know they are super hungry.  Last night I was in a jam and got them the happy meals.  The only problem w/ the apples is mine don't like red apples, they only like green ones!

by on Jul. 28, 2011 at 9:52 AM

one of mine likes the apples, one likes the fries 

we never eat all of the fries though

I think it's a good change

by on Jul. 28, 2011 at 9:53 AM

oh and I'm excited about the Smurf toys coming out tomorrow- I LOVED the Smurfs growing up

by on Jul. 28, 2011 at 10:09 AM

I agree.  I don't understand why some people are getting upset about McDonald's "trying" to make their kids healthier.

Quoting TheJerseyGirl:

 A healthier choice is okay.

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