Wendy's, McDonald's take healthy steps for children

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By: Geoff Lesar
glesar@flavor574.com

Fast-food chain Wendy’s has removed the soda option from its kids’ menu.

The decision is the latest healthy living initiative taken by a national restaurant in response to growing pressure from children’s health advocacy groups, according to USA Today. Wendy’s now joins McDonald’s, Chipotle, Subway and Arby’s in choosing not display the sugary selection.

Customers can still purchase soda with meals, but its presence on menu boards has been replaced with choices of 1 percent white or chocolate milk, bottled water and 100 percent juice.

“I think it’s a good idea. It (soda) is very high in sugar,” said Hobbie Barham of Elkhart, who recently dined at Wendy’s with her grandson. “It’s good for them – and it’s free.”

Word from Wendy’s coincides with McDonald’s second installment of Happy Meal Books, which started Jan. 9 and runs through Thursday, Jan. 22. The program “aims to inspire kids to engage in active and imaginative play in a fun way and develop a sense of community,” according to a press release.

Through a new collaboration with HarperCollins Children’s Books and Reading Is Fundamental, McDonald’s is temporarily offering four classic picture books, Happy Meal-sized, as the toy that accompanies purchases. Titles include “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “Flat Stanley Goes Camping,” among others. In addition to the story, each book contains a creative activity, such as a mini-board game and a picture of Flat Stanley to be colored in and sent on adventures.

What else do you think fast food chains could do to promote healthy habits for kids? (Or, for that matter, adults?)

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