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Mar 9, 2012 5:28 PM by Herbie Smith

McDonald's makes Happy Meals healthier

Fast food restaurants have a bad reputation for packing on the pounds and in some cases being blamed for childhood obesity.
McDonald's is doing something about that, starting with adding fruit to kids' meals. "I was surprised to see the apple slices in it, I think it's wonderful," said parent Linda Croom.

More fruit and fewer fries, plus a serving of milk is the Happy Meal makeover. "It's really good, because it's the fruit that we like to feed my daughter," said Tavares Johnson. Old Happy Meals were between 500 and 600 calories. The new ones are about 120 fewer calories and 20-percent less sodium and saturated fat. For parents like Linda Croom, the makeover means promoting healthy eating to her children. "We do have problems with obesity in the world, so the less salt the better."

Tavares Johnson usually allows his daughter to eat only chicken nuggets, but Johnson says he's okay with the new Happy Meal standards. "It's definitely a good deal for her, because we don't want to feed her junk; we want to make sure she has the right nutrition. She actually ate more apples than fries."

McDonald's Director of Nutrition Dr. Cynthia Goody says the restaurant is trying to be more mindful about fighting adult and childhood obesity. "McDonald's is about portion sizes and offering foods from the recommended food groups." "It makes us want to come here more because we have other choices than the fatty foods that we try to stay away from," said Johnson.

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