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Breakfast Happy Meals Are McDonald's Latest Cheap Trick

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The latest attempt to capitalize on its all-day breakfast success

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After years of steadily slumping sales, McDonald’s finally found a winner with all-day breakfast. Serving round-the-clock Egg McMuffins has helped usher in consecutive quarters of sales increases for the fast-food behemoth, and naturally, it’s doing everything it can to bolster that success. The latest effort: breakfast Happy Meals.

On Monday, 73 stores in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area will roll out breakfast versions of the kids’ meals, USA Today reports. Per a McDonald’s spokesperson, the All Day Breakfast Happy Meals come with either an egg-and-cheese McMuffin or two McGriddles cakes — that’s just the maple-flavored buns, without the egg and meat found on the adult version of the sandwich — plus a side of hash browns, apples, or yogurt.

The McMuffin option has 260 calories and the McGriddles cakes have 240 calories; a hash brown — the unhealthiest side but obviously the superior choice — has around 150 calories, meaning a breakfast Happy Meal tops out at around 400 calories before a drink is added. (Please don’t order your kids Coke for breakfast, okay?) While a breakfast of sugary pseudo-pancakes, fried potatoes, and a juice box is nutritionally pretty questionable, that puts the meals in line with their McNugget and cheeseburger counterparts as far as calorie content is concerned.

Reached for comment, a McDonald’s spokesperson acknowledged that the all-day breakfast Happy Meals could be offered nationwide in 2017 if the test in Tulsa proved successful. The company also points out that this marks the first time in 30 years it’s added a new entree to the Happy Meal.

This week also marked a major menu expansion for all-day breakfast, with McGriddles now being included as part of the 24-hour menu nationwide.

McDonald’s has attempted some healthier updates to its Happy Meals in recent years, such as offering apple slices and milk as alternatives to fries and soda, though its latest attempt went awry: Fitness trackers distributed in Happy Meals were quickly yanked after they were found to cause “potential skin irritations.” Rashes aside, many found it outrageous that a company that’s built its success on pushing a steady diet of burgers and fries on children suddenly wanted to address their health, so perhaps it ought to stick to Pokémon toys and My Little Ponies in the future.

McDonald’s to Test Breakfast Happy Meals [USA Today]
How McDonald’s Hopes to Sustain Its All-Day Breakfast Success [E]
McDonald's Expanding All-Day Breakfast Menu to Include, Well, Everything [E]
More McDonald’s Coverage [E]