The “McHealthy” Update

OId McDonald has taken a note from our good friend Johnny Appleseed. The fast food powerhouse has unfolded a three-part plan to promote healthy nutrition and active lifestyles starting with our most valuable resource, our children. By incorporating apples into kids’ Happy Meals, Ronald has even gained first lady Michelle Obama’s approval.

“McDonald’s is making continued progress today by providing more fruit and reducing the calories in its Happy Meals. I’ve always said that everyone has a role to play in making America healthier, and these are positive steps toward the goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity. McDonald’s has continued to evolve its menu, and I look forward to hearing about the progress of today’s commitments, as well as efforts in the years to come,” stated Michelle Obama, who has made the fight against childhood obesity a major part of her platform.

Ronald’s research (along with his team of nutritionists) earns a golden apple for the golden arches. By reducing added sugars, saturated fat and calories McDonald’s will be able to bring a wholesome smile to our kiddos. McDonald’s plans to keep consulting food and nutrition experts in order to do their part and allow customers to make healthy choices.

Here is the skinny on McD’s plan:
1. By the first quarter of 2012, McDonald’s will be including produce in each Happy Meal in an effort to reduce the caloric intake of these meals by about 20%. McDonald’s will also be promoting a healthy lifestyle (i.e. exercise and/or healthy eating) in their marketing campaigns that are geared towards children. McDonald’s will even be funding some community-based nutrition awareness programs.

2. McDonald’s will gradually begin offering more healthy choices on their entire menu. By 2020, McDonald’s will reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations. McDonald’s plans to reduce sodium in their entire national menu by 15% by 2015.

3. McDonald’s will increase customer/employee access to nutritional information for their meals. This information will be available in-restaurant, online, and through mobile communication. McDonald’s first mobile app already includes nutritional information on their meals, while on-the-go.

A small step for McDonald’s, but let’s hope a giant leap for other fast-food chains to get on the bandwagon and start tackling our obesity epidemic.

Lara Field MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Specialist in Pediatrics with over a decade of clinical and client experience. When she’s not actively working to keep her clients healthy, she’s a busy mother of two active boys and loves testing new recipes in her kitchen. Follow her on Instagram to see her recipe ideas, product suggestions, and see how she manages a healthy lifestyle @larafield.