By Jackie King, Triad-area McDonalds owner/operator and mom

School is back in session and for lots of families that means running little ones between school, practices, and homework. All of the activity means that it may be harder to eat wholesome meals, but it’s not impossible.

If your children like McDonald’s Happy Meals, soon they’ll have another wholesome option to choose from. Coming soon to a Happy Meal near you will be Cuties clementines. The handheld oranges from Sun Pacific are just 40 calories and can replace French fries in any Happy Meal beginning late November.

Cuties are part of McDonald’s larger commitment to offering nutritious options to even the smallest patrons. There are also a few other wholesome options for Happy Meals that are available now that even adults would love.

Apple slices are just 15 calories and offer little ones a fruit to pair with their burger or Chicken McNuggets.

Then there’s the Yoplait low-fat strawberry Go-GURT. The portable Go-GURT has 25 percent less sugar than regular Yoplait yogurt and comes in a creamy, fruit flavor that will definitely tickle some little taste buds.

Want to cut back on sugary drinks? McDonald’s Happy Meals have wholesome beverage options too. Now kids can choose between the fat free chocolate milk, low-fat white milk or apple juice to quench their thirst.

You can combine any wholesome side option with a wholesome beverage to provide your children with a meal that is less than 550 calories but full of flavor and fun.

These kid-friendly options are just as mobile and versatile as we have to be as moms – with all the fun of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. Want another reason to smile as big as the Golden Arches? Proceeds from every Happy Meal purchased directly supports RMHC of NC and all six Houses.

The money raised from Happy Meals, as well as donations and other fundraisers throughout the year, helps the six NC Houses support families 365 days each year. This year, the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem is celebrating 30 years of service with a month-long celebration in September.

The House, located on Hawthorne Road in Winston-Salem, has provided “a home away from home” for families with a child receiving medical treatment at area hospitals since 1984. Initially, the House was equipped with ten rooms but in order to serve the needs of more families, it has grown to 35 rooms. The largest expansion was completed in 2010 and enables the organization to serve more than 1,000 families every year.

In total, the House has served over 10,000 families since it opened. Former board member, Dr. Steven M. Block said the community never knew they needed a Ronald McDonald House until they had one and that they can’t imagine life without it. The Ronald McDonald House is the only organization in Winston-Salem dedicated to providing housing to families of sick children.

The Ronald McDonald House is also marking the milestone with “30 Ways to Celebrate 30”, a campaign that suggests ways to support the House like holding a Wish List drive, sponsoring a family, and visiting the House. Local businesses are donating proceeds from sales throughout September to the House including Village Tavern, Kilwins, Gigi’s Cupcakes, and Brynn’s Frozen Yogurt. You and your kiddos can join in on the celebration by sending a congratulatory message to the House with the hashtag #30yearsoflove on Facebook and Twitter.

Sponsored by McDonald’s