Taste test: Best and worst juice boxes for your kid’s lunchbox

The Daily Meal

View gallery

.
V8 Fusion Apple

(V8 Fusion Apple / Photo courtesy of V8)

What are the best-tasting juice boxes? The Daily Meal’s editors put them to the test.









The juice box has been a lunchbox staple for a long time, providing kids with the hydration and nutrition necessary to get through the school day — or so parents thought. Recent studies on the dangers of drinking too many high-sugar, high-calorie beverages have helped to steer parents away from the mighty boxes.

There are more types than ever on the market today, promising everything from great to great nutrition, all wrapped up in a sensible serving size. Yet sensationalist claims scream at you from the box, making it difficult to figure out which ones offer real nutrition and which don’t. Then, of course, there is the matter of taste. Just because a drink with carrots and berries is appealing to Mom or Dad, doesn’t mean a kid is going to like it.

When choosing a juice box, it’s helpful to remember a few juice guidelines, as suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Infants less than a year old should not be drinking any , kids ages 1 to 6 years old shouldn’t exceed 6 ounces of fruit juice per day, and older children from ages 7 to 18 shouldn’t consume more than 8 or 12 ounces per day, ideally divided into two servings. Along with causing weight gain, excessive juice consumption can lead to cavities, malnutrition, and diarrhea. If you have more concerns about your child and fruit juice, it’s best to talk to a pediatrician who knows you child and their specific case. 

In order to figure out the tastiest, the sweetest, and the weirdest options out there, The Daily Meal editors taste-tested 10 different brands. For this test, we looked at fruit punch varieties from major brands available across the U.S., none of which contained high-fructose corn syrup. Some drinks had sneaky portions of vegetables added in and some were diluted with water, and although the juices are high in sugar, most of the sugars are naturally occurring and provide a way to increase fruit (and possibly vegetable) intake with little effort. 

SCORES:

Whole Foods Fruit Punch 80%
Back to Nature Fruit Punch 75.1%
Apple & Eve Very Berry 71.1%
Earth Wise Orchards Red 70%
Trader Joe's Fruit Punch 69.2%
Capri Sun Super V Apple 67.2%
V8 Fusion Fruit Punch 64.5%
Honest Kids Fruit Punch 63.9%
V8 Fusion Apple 58.2%
RW Knudson Sensible Sippers 56.9%

After the taste test there were clear passing grades, and some failing grades. (After all, our taste buds have matured a bit since the days of juice boxes at lunch.) The others got lost in the middle of the pack. The editors ranked them on a scale from 60 to 100 percent (just like you’re back in school!).


V8 Fusion Apple - Score: 58.2% (Pictured above left)

While this one also ranked pretty low, it wasn’t quite as reviled as RW Knudsen Sensible Sippers Fruit Punch. The highest mark it received was a 75 percent.

The main issue was its cloudy, artificial appearance. While the neon orange color might not be an issue in a box, no one could properly guess the taste, with ideas ranging from pear to banana. Even if you’re eager to sneak some vegetable servings into your juice consumption, there are tastier vegetable juices to choose from.

As one tester summed up, the juice "smells awful, looks awful, very artificial." Guess this won’t be making the tyke’s lunchbox.

1 Juice box (6.75 ounces): 60 calories, 12 grams of sugar


(See more: The Best and Worst Frozen Waffles)


View gallery

.
Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch

(Photo: Courtesy of Honest Teas)

Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch - Score: 63.9%

Honest Kids ranked quite a bit higher than V8 Apple and Sensible Sippers, but its watered-down taste was its downfall.

The editors didn’t appreciate the diluted flavor, calling it "creepy diluted," and complained about a strange sweetness that "tastes vaguely like bubblegum." Some taste-testers also commented on a tropical flavor with hints of coconut and pineapple.

In addition to the low calorie count, this juice box contains the lowest amount of sugar, along with a variety of fruit juices.

1 pouch (6.75 ounces): 40 calories, 10 grams of sugar



View gallery

.
V8 Fusion Fruit Punch

(Photo: Courtesy of V8)

V8 Fusion Fruit Punch - Score: 64.5%

Scoring quite a bit higher than V8 Fusion apple juice, V8 fruit punch got an average of a 64.5 percent score.

With a taste that wasn’t as sweet as the other V8 — several tasters noted a salty flavor — it’s a better choice if you’re looking for a fruit-vegetable juice hybrid. There was a moment of redemption for V8 Fusion fruit punch with the note "tastes like a lollipop." Still, editors commented on its cough medicine, "Robitussin flavor," which caused V8 fruit punch to lose major points.

1 Juice Box (6.75 ounces): 70 calories, 17 grams of sugar

 

View gallery

.
Capri Sun Super V Apple

(Photo: Courtesy of Capri Sun)

Capri Sun Super V Apple- Score: 67.2%

Landing in the middle of the pack, Capri Sun (the drink of many editors’ childhoods) earned points for its notably fruity flavor.

Some editors thought it tasted almost grape-like, while others noticed a hint of cherry. People found this one pretty inoffensive and "middle of the road"; it’s a safe bet your child won’t mind finding this in their lunchbox.

A word of warning: the straw is tricky.

1 box (6 ounces): 70 calories, 14 grams of sugar



View gallery

.
Apple & Eve Very Berry

(Photo: Courtesy of Apple & Eve)

Apple & Eve Very Berry- Score: 71.1%

Apple & Eve’s Very Berry juice box broke the top three with a score of 71 percent.

Editors found it to have an inoffensive flavor that was sweet, without being overkill. With comments like "decent," "meh," and "middle of the road," this juice box won’t be winning any flavor contests, but it also won’t make you sick. It’s a safe bet that your kid won’t complain if this is in their lunch box.

1 box (6.75 ounces): 100 calories, 21 grams of sugar



View gallery

.
Back to Nature Fruit Punch

(Photo: Jane Bruce)

Back to Nature Fruit Punch- Score: 75.1%

This was one of the high-scorers, and our editors enjoyed a flavor that was more potent than the ones they had previously tasted.

Despite the more powerful flavor, our editors still complained that this juice was too sweet, describing it as "sugar water," and "pretty sweet but tasty."

Two people gave this juice box a score of 90 but some low scores in the 60s brought its average down. While it had a more powerful taste, many editors also noted that it was still a bit too sugary. (And with a whopping 19 grams of sugar, we can imagine why.)

1 pouch (6 ounces): 80 calories, 19 grams of sugar



See More of the Best and Worst Juice Boxes




More from The Daily Meal:

Learn What's Really in Your Juice

17 Most Awesome Ice Cube Trays


The Best and Worst Bottled Waters

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Brie Larson, like everyone else, didn't seem thrilled with Casey Affleck's Oscar win

      As 2016's Best Actress winner, Brie Larson was tasked with presenting the award for Best Actor at the 2017 Academy Awards. On Sunday night, that award went to Casey Affleck for his role in Manchester By the Sea , despite the allegations of sexual harassment against him. And like the rest of the internet, Larson did not seem pleased. SEE ALSO: Amid the uproar over Nate Parker, why is no one talking about Casey Affleck? who hates casey affleck more: me or brie larson? it's a close call.. #oscars pic.twitter.com/SoymUAhRex — jamie (@dylanohollands) February 27, 2017 .@brielarson is a precious angel and also we have the same expression when we look at casey affleck who knew https://t.co/x5dsRgnEmH pic.twitter.com/NaVaWHl0Pp — Róisín Lanigan (@rosielanners) February 27, 2017 This is the second award Larson presented to Affleck— she presented his Golden Globe win back in January. My aesthetic: Brie Larson not clapping for literal trash hole casey affleck pic.twitter.com/Ci5LWXLkCr — Tyler Struble (@tyler_struble) February 27, 2017 The allegations against Affleck stem from lawsuits filed by two women who worked on his 2010 film I'm Still Here. The actor settled both cases out of court.  Although similar allegations against Nate Parker became the major talking point surrounding his film The Birth of a Nation , Affleck's Oscar win shows that the lawsuits have left his his career largely unscathed. Larson — who portrayed a sexual assault survivor in 2015's Room and who stood to hug the survivors who performed with Lady Gaga at last year's show — doesn't seem to be here for it.  All award season Brie Larson, who starred in a movie about sexual assault, had to present Casey Affleck all his awards. pic.twitter.com/L2WbQvSJNv — Marnie (@ChrnclsOfMarnia) February 27, 2017 at what time is brie larson scheduled to beat up casey affleck — ASYA (@communistbabe) February 27, 2017 brie larson everytime she sees casey affleck pic.twitter.com/nkQCta9JxZ — chiara (@chapmns) February 27, 2017 BONUS: Despite the most awkward moment in Oscars history, ‘Moonlight’s’ Best Picture award is what matters most.

      Mashable
    • EXCLUSIVE: Matt Damon Blames Oscars Flub on Host Jimmy Kimmel: 'They Got What They Paid For'

      As expected, the men continued to feud at the Academy Awards.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Former President Bush breaks his silence, defends Trump

      Reaction from Fox News contributor and former White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen

      FOX News Videos
    • 7-foot-7 'Game of Thrones' actor Neil Fingleton dies at 36

      LONDON (AP) — Neil Fingleton, a 7-foot 7-inch actor who played the giant Mag the Mighty in "Game of Thrones" has died at 36.

      Associated Press
    • Pro-Trump town riled up after immigration officials arrest popular restaurant manager

      WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. –  A southern Illinois community that solidly backed President Donald Trump has rallied behind a Mexican restaurant manager who doesn't have legal permission to live in the U.S. and has been detained by immigration officials. Letters of support for Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco have poured in from West Frankfort's mayor, police chief, high school athletic director and the county prosecutor. They describe Hernandez as a role model and praise his robust civil involvement, including funding school scholarships, benefit dinners for families in need and hosting a law enforcement appreciation event. Hernandez, 38, came to the U.S. in the 1990s but didn't obtain legal status, according

      Fox News q
    • PROOF that liberal protesters are paid

      Republican lawmakers across the country have grown wary of holding town hall meetings with constituents. What's scaring these brave public servants? Paid protesters. Specifically, paid liberal protesters. (It's a well-known fact that all conservative protesters are volunteer and have legitimate gripes that must be heard.) Most in the FAKE NEWS media will claim there's no such things as a paid liberal protester. They'll say people are simply turning out to express frustration over GOP policies and because they don't want to lose their health care and die. But I'm here to tell you otherwise: Paid liberal protesters totally exist; it's an excellent career choice with surprisingly good benefits;

      Chicago Tribune q
    • Oscar Moments You Didn’t See on TV (10 photos)

      The behind-the-scenes moments rivaled those on stage

      People
    • Costco may hike its membership fees — here's how much more you'd pay

      Costco is expected to raise its membership fees by nearly 10% in the next couple of months. The...

      Business Insider
    • Serena Williams crashed a tennis match and challenged these guys while on a late-night stroll

      Two late night tennis players got the surprise of a lifetime on Sunday when a passerby watched their game and claimed “I got next.” That person happened to be Serena Williams. Williams was out with her dog taking a stroll when she noticed the game and hatched a plan to surprise the pair. Williams was not in the right gear to play tennis.

      SB Nation q
    • Chrissy Teigen looked like she was sleeping during Casey Affleck’s Oscar win, and the internet has theories

      The 2017 Academy Awards were an extremely long affair, with patient east coasters staying up way past midnight to catch La La…

      Hello Giggles
    • Great white shark caught from pier is under investigation; disturbing video

      A disturbing video of a juvenile great white shark being hauled up onto the Huntington Beach Pier and an equally disturbing photo of the fishermen posing with the catch has created an uproar on social media. The video posted on Facebook by Mike Hefner and the photo posted on Facebook by Diego Gamboa Fishing not only sparked outrage but could help enforcement agents with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in identifying the offending anglers. Great white sharks are protected. It is illegal to catch a great white shark and when one is hooked, it is supposed to be released as soon as possible, not landed so photos can be taken, as what happened in this case. And you certainly don’t gaff

      GrindTV.com q
    • ‘Game of Thrones’ Actor Neil Fingleton Dies at 36

      Neil Fingleton, who played the colossal warrior Mag the Mighty on “Game of Thrones,” died from heart failure on Saturday. He was 36. Fingleton was the U.K.’s tallest man at seven feet, seven inches in height. In addition to “Thrones,” Fingleton appeared in “Doctor Who,” Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “X-Men: First Class.” His death was announced... Read more »

      Variety
    • White House responds to father of Navy SEAL killed in Yemen raid

      White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday responded to the father of US Navy SEAL Chief...

      Business Insider
    • NC church has unconventional rules for sex and marriage

      SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) — When it comes to relationships, marriage and sex, Word of Faith Fellowship members must follow strict and unusual rules — or risk severe punishment, former members say.

      Associated Press
    • Disbelief, anger and Ryan Gosling's giggling: reaction to the La La Land-Moonlight Oscars mistake

      In one of the most jaw-droppingly awkward moments in Oscars history, the wrong best picture winner was announced at the 2017 Academy Awards.

      The Telegraph
    • George W. Bush: A free press checks the ‘addictive’ power of the presidency

      Former President George W. Bush said that the power of the presidency can be addictive and that an independent media is necessary to keep things in check. “I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Bush said in a “Today” show interview Monday morning. “We need an independent media to hold people like me to account.”

      Yahoo News
    • Knicks waive Brandon Jennings, lose Joakim Noah to surgery

      NEW YORK (AP) — Brandon Jennings is gone and Joakim Noah had knee surgery.

      Associated Press 33 min ago
    • The Bachelor’s Nick Viall, Charo, Heather Morris and More Join Dancing with the Stars

      Nick Viall,  who is no stranger to being judged on a hit ABC show, will be trading in the roses for a pair of glossy dance shoes! Another insider tells PEOPLE that Erika Girardi (a.k.a. Erika Jayne) of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is set to take the stage on the hit dancing show, as will 65-year-old actress and comedian Charo, Saturday Night Live alum, Chris Kattan, and professional bull rider and model Bonner Bolton. The insider also confirms that former Glee star Heather Morris, 30, will be making her dancing debut on the ABC show.

      People