Young and Hungry

Not Lovin’ It: McDonald’s New Happy Meals Won’t Make Vegetarians Very Happy

As part of McDonald's effort to create healthier choices, the fast food chain releases a new version of its iconic Happy Meal on Friday. The D.C. area has been chosen as one of the first markets to promote its new offerings, including "apple slices – as part of every order," a smaller sized french fry and choice of one percent milk or fat-free chocolate milk, according to a press release.

While the addition of fruit, non-soft drinks and a smaller fry package should be applauded, there's still one thing missing—specifically, something substantial for vegetarian and vegan kids to snack on. The current choice between chicken nuggets, hamburger or cheeseburger doesn't exactly give these meatless eaters much to be happy about. How bout the option of faux nuggets, a garden burger or grilled (soy?) cheese?

Want to tell this to McDonald's yourself? There is a Happy Meal launch today at 1:30 p.m at the McDonald's at 4130 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, near the Tenleytown metro. Attendees both young and old will be offered a free Happy Meal and you'll get a chance to speak with McDonald's franchisees, a company nutritionist and, of course, Ronald McDonald.

Photo by Christina Kennedy/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

  • yup

    Vegan parents would NEVER take their kids to the golden arches, even if they offered a vegan buffet. There's no reason for the McDonald's brand to try to court that demographic.

  • Gene

    If you're a vegetarian and you're complaining about the menu at McDonald's, then you're a dumb ass.

    What's next, vegetarians complaining about the menu at Ruths Chris?

    Jesus Christ.....

  • Kristen

    Vegan children? Maybe their PARENTS' lifestyle is vegan, and they are raised that way, but there is no way a two/three/four year old is choosing to be vegan. Either way, McDonald's shouldn't be going after this, as the other comments have pointed out.

  • WDC

    By this logic I can go to Sticky Fingers and be offended when they refuse my demands for a steak.

    More likely is that the cashier will jump the counter and, in a fit of righteous indignation, throttle me.

    Which would probably not happen at McDonalds.

  • Susan C

    I'm delighted to see the bright people who have already commented, so will just say - "yeah, what they said!!"

  • jstro

    i think the '1 billion served' slogan speaks volumes for MCD. wonder how well the veggie/vegan restaurants are doing...?

  • Caroline

    I sometimes dream about opening a fast food restaurant that has healthier options and multiple vegetarian/vegan offerings. It would still be quick, still have a drive-thru, and still be things that you can eat while driving (because we all have moments when we need to eat on the run).

  • Alex

    Yeah, this is one laughable article. I can just picture the McDonalds representatives trying to keep a straight face while some ignorant hippie tries to speak to them about vegetarian options for children, then running to the back to laugh their asses off at this idiocy.

  • John

    McDonalds' french fries aren't even vegetarian. (They use beef flavoring.)

  • TJ

    I'm a vegetarian and I agree with the comments on this thread. Every place is not going to be vegetarian friendly. I mean, I'm sure no one is going to Soul Vegetarian and asking for a kosher hot dog. And if they do, they'd get kicked out for sure.

  • Jennalicious

    Their french fries have beef tallow in them (basically bone marrow)... so the only part that could be vegetarian out of a happy meal now is the apples.

    I'm not vegetarian (my sister is...and I've heard the bitchin' for years about it).

    If you're a vegetarian you know where to go and what to get and you're probably doing the same for your kids. Thanksfully McD's hasn't set up shop in schools...yet...

  • poopooplater

    "Vegan parents would NEVER take their kids to the golden arches, even if they offered a vegan buffet."

    ew, so snobby, it's your body, not a fucking scene, gonna give it up once it goes mainstream? i would totally take my kid if they offered a vegan option, i think it would be great for that food to be so available.

  • Andrea

    At a McDonald's near Kings Cross station in London(some years ago), they had veggie samosas- pretty lousy ones- esp as there were quite a few Indian restaurants in the area but still samosas.

  • Shawn

    lol... I hope no one paid you to write this

    "I go for the grilled soy .. I'm a vegan menunaire"

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  • Diane

    Even if they offered vegan food its still McDs, still fast food. I wouldnt eat it. Generally speaking, people who eat healthy dont eat fast food.

  • Meat is delicous

    City paper needs to get new writers....every time I open this page its always vegetarian this vegetarian that... for a population of only around 5 % just vegetarian less for vegan get over yourselves and find some writers who fall into the 95% ..... I respect the lifestyle choice but dont use this outlet to preach...Its supposed to be a foodie site... Every other week theres a story of where vegetarians can eat.....

  • sam walton

    In other countries, McDonalds offer vegetarian sandwiches. They are pretty tasty .

  • Citizen Sane

    File this under "who cares?

  • Bob

    Other fast food restaurants are vegetarian friendly, why can't the largest be as well? I am thinking of BK which has a veggie burger and Taco Bell where most of the menu can be made vegetarian. Yes it is true that it is only 5% of the population but these 5% percent go out with non-vegetarian friends that may skip a restaurant which does not offer a veggie option.

  • anon

    Wow -- Burger King manages to offer a veggie burger and will even provide a non grilled/hold the cheese and mayo "vegan" version of the same. What's so hard about that? And yes, McDonalds uses tallow in their fries, so not exactly welcoming.

    It's win win for me -- I'm vegetarian and could care less if McDonalds looks out for me or my kids because I'll never eat there (I hope the kids won't either when they're old enough to make that decision).

    The vitriol against vegetarians is pretty funny -- are these defensive meat eaters worried about someone freeing their colons from red meat tyranny, or someone taking that warm dead cow from their cold dead hand?

  • ashley

    I would not take my kids there if they were vegetarian or vegan...

  • anon

    @ashley - I agree. I wouldn't eat there as an omnivore or a vegan. Then again, I wouldn't eat in Shake Shack either. If I'm on the road and there's nothing but McDonalds, I can choose to not eat or just grab a bag of almonds until a better option is available -- not so hard.

    Personally, I think the toy marketing tie-ins are equally if not more pernicious.

  • anon


    tallow is just rendered from suet, a hardened beef fat found around the kidneys and the loins below the rib cage. It has nothing to do with marrow.

    Why it's needed for french fries I have no idea

  • monkeyrotica

    McDs stopped frying in tallow decades ago, which is a shame because it made the fries delicious. It's the difference between a pie crust that's made with lard versus one made with vegetable shortening.

    And don't you hate going into gay bars and finding absolutely NO straights to hit on?