McDonald's to try new kids' line-up

McDonald’s is remixing its Happy Meals to cut the calories by 20%.

The big savings: The replacement of a small order of fries with a new “child-size” portion. To make up for the shift to half the fries that were previously provided, McDonald’s will include a quarter-cup of apples in each Meal.

The chain is also looking at such items as carrots, pineapple sticks and raisins, said McDonald’s USA president Jan Fields.

Toys will remain part of the package. “That’s what makes them happy,” Fields said.

Some advocacy groups and lawmakers are trying to ban the toys, arguing that they entice children to buy the meals and consume excess calories.

The rollout of the new Meals will start in September, with a completion target of March 31, said McDonalds Fields. The resulting meals will have “well under” 600 calories, said Dr. Cindy Goody, McDonald’s senior director of nutrition.

The rebundling is one of several health initiatives that were announced by the burger giant today. Among the other steps it’s taking:

--Cutting sodium across all menu items by 15% by 2015

--Rolling out an app that’ll help customers make nutritionally responsible decisions when they visit a McDonald’s

--Conducting a “listening tour” to hear first-hand what patrons would like to see on McDonald’s menu.

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