McDonald's launches new Happy Meal in Greater Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - McDonald's restaurants in Greater Cincinnati have launched a new Happy Meal in support of the company's recently announced 'Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choice' which strive to help customers – especially children and families –make nutrition-minded choices whether visiting McDonald's or elsewhere.

Available nationwide, the new Happy Meal automatically includes Apple Slices (apple slices, ¼ cup or ½ serving) as a side to the choice of Chicken McNuggets®, a Hamburger, or Cheeseburger , and choice of beverage, in which fat-free chocolate milk and 1% white milk will be options. In addition to Apple Slices, the meal also includes a new smaller size French Fries (1.1 ounces).

For those customers who prefer a side choice of apples only, two bags of apples will be available upon request.

By adding fruit in every Happy Meal, McDonald's hopes to address a challenge children face in meeting the recommended daily consumption of produce. McDonald's has been offering apples as a requested Happy Meal choice since 2004, and while recent research found that 88 percent of McDonald's customers are aware of the option, the apples are chosen in only 11 percent of Happy Meal purchases.

The new Happy Meal that includes 4-piece Chicken McNuggets, Apple Slices, new smaller size French fries and 1% low fat white milk or fat-free chocolate milk delivers produce and dairy – two food groups encouraged by the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and MyPlate – as well as at least 10 percent of the Daily Value for vitamins A and C, calcium and vitamin D. In addition, the sodium in the Happy Meal entrée favorite, Chicken McNuggets, has been reduced by more than 20 percent since 2003. In fact, as part of its national sodium reduction efforts, McDonald's recently reduced sodium by 10 percent in the most of its chicken menu items.

"Recent research has shown that younger children are consuming more fruits and vegetables, but we still have a long way to go to increase consumption to meet daily recommendations for these important food groups," according to Elizabeth Pivonka, PhD, RD, president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation. "We applaud McDonald's effort to celebrate produce in every Happy Meal which further strengthens their seven years of support in our campaign to educate children on the benefits of fruits and vegetables."

More Happy Meal fruit and vegetable choices are under development and expected to roll out over the next few years.