Happy Meal Nutrition and Calories

Elise Deming, RDN
McDonalds Low Fat Kids Happy Meal

Happy Meals have become a staple of the American food culture. Whether running to soccer practice, on a road trip, or doing errands, many families reach for a quick, kid-friendly meal in the form of a Happy Meal. However, not everyone knows the nutrition content of those Happy Meals.

Happy Meal Nutrition

To their credit, Happy Meals have come a long way. McDonald's now offers healthier options than just chicken nuggets and fries. A 2018 CNN report stated McDonald's is making strives to create heathier Happy Meals. The future Happy Meal will not include cheeseburgers, will contain a bottle of water, and potentially more fruits and vegetables.

Currently, kids have the option of adding milk, apple slices, 100 percent juice, or even yogurt to their Happy Meals. A variety of Happy Meal creations exist to choose from and all have varying nutritional content. Yogurt and milk add calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A and D, while apple slices add vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K.

Burger Happy Meal

The hamburger Happy Meal nutrition content can vary based on the side selections and drinks. Hamburger combinations are as follows:

  • Hamburger + kids fries + apples slices + 1% milk contains 480calories, 16 grams of fat, 62 grams of carbohydrate, 22 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 21 grams of sugar.
  • Hamburger + kids fries + apples slices + fat-free chocolate milk contains 510calories, 13 grams of fat, 74 grams of carbohydrate, 23 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 31 grams of sugar.
  • Hamburger + kids fries + apples slices + Honest Kids Juice contains 410 calories, 13 grams of fat, 59 grams of carbohydrate, 14 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of sugar.
  • Hamburger + kids fries + yogurt + 1% milk contains 520 calories, 17 grams of fat, 67 grams of carbohydrate, 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of sugar.
  • Hamburger + kids fries + yogurt + fat free chocolate milk contains 540 calories, 14 grams of fat, 78 grams of carbohydrate, 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 34 grams of sugar.
  • Hamburger + kids fries + yogurt + Honest Kids Juice contains 450 calories, 14 grams of fat, 64 grams of carbohydrate, 17 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 21 grams of sugar.

The only component McDonald's does not account for on the company's online Nutrition Calculator is how a soda measures up. Adding soda to a Happy Meal will significantly increase the calorie and sugar content of the meal.

Chicken McNugget Meals

The other protein option for Happy Meals is chicken nuggets. The same side options exist for chicken nuggets as the hamburger Happy Meal and the nutrition content varies.

  • Nuggets + kids fries + apples slices +1% milk contains 410calories, 19 grams of fat, 41 grams of carbohydrate, 19 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of sugar.
  • Nuggets + kids fries + apples slices + fat free chocolate milk contains 440 calories, 16 grams of fat, 53 grams of carbohydrate, 20 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of sugar.
  • Nuggets + kids fries + apples slices + Honest Kids Juice contains 340calories, 16 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbohydrate, 11 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of sugar.
  • Nuggets + kids fries + yogurt + 1% milk contains 450calories, 19 grams of fat, 46 grams of carbohydrate, 22 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 18 grams of sugar.
  • Nuggets + kids fries + yogurt + fat free chocolate milk contains 470 calories, 17 grams of fat, 57 grams of carbohydrate, 23 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 28 grams of sugar.
  • Nuggets + kids fries + yogurt + Honest Kids Juice contains 380calories, 17 grams of fat, 43 grams of carbohydrate, 14 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of sugar.

The above nutrition information is for the four piece chicken nugget package. Selecting the six piece nugget option adds an additional 90 calories, 5 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrate, and 5 grams of protein.

Nutrition in Happy Meals

McDonald's has stepped up by providing nutrition information on their Happy Meals, as well as trying to provide healthier options for those meals. However, Happy Meals can be nutritionally detrimental when portion sizes are increased and soda is added. Happy Meals are best when they are an occasionally meal and not a weekly dinner for children.

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Happy Meal Nutrition and Calories