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

    • ‘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
    • Celebrities React to the Unexpected Death of Bill Paxton

      Actor Bill Paxton, who died on Saturday at the age of 61 due to complications from surgery, had racked up dozens of movie and TV credits in his more than 40 years in Hollywood. He had even more friends, many of whom shared tributes to him after the sad news broke on Sunday morning. Bill Paxton was, simply, a wonderful man. A wonderful man… Hanx.

      Yahoo Celebrity
    • Hmm, maybe this is why Trump doesn't want to attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner

      On Saturday, Donald Trump made history as only the third president to bow out of the White House Correspondents' Dinner. And while this has much to do with Trump's ever-worsening battle with the press and his constant struggle to book talent, it's also worth remembering that, to be frank, Trump probably has another reason for ditching: He usually gets clobbered at these things. So, in the interest of, uh, elucidation, please enjoy these videos of Trump getting roasted at the 2011 and 2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner. Better yet, enjoy Trump's mirthless reactions. They're uncomfortable to watch, but extremely worth it. SEE ALSO: An exclusive look at Donald Trump's Twitter drafts for Oscar night First, here's President Obama clapping back at Trump's relentless "birther" conspiracy-mongering. The Lion King is involved. Next, observe Seth Meyers insisting that Trump must be running for president as a "joke." Trump does not smile. And here's Obama ripping on The Apprentice.  Finally, here's a delightful compilation of all the best Trump burns from the 2016 dinner.  A Larry Wilmore highlight: "Yeah, Trump's campaign is inspiring ... mass violence." (Trump did not attend that one, BTW.) So, there you have it. While we're not sure about the future of this year's event, we'll always have those stunners to fall back on.  And you can always zoom in on this cursed image while listening to "Sound of Silence." Image: Youtube/C-Span BONUS: Jordan Peele reacts to 'Get Out' as Barack Obama: 'Surrounded by white people! Not fun'

      Mashable
    • Steph Curry leaves timeout huddle to help fan win $5,000

      During a timeout in Saturday’s Nets-Warriors game, Golden State had a little game show for a couple fans. Steph Curry was also sneaking by while this was happening, and when she rolled the third ball onto the ramp, he intercepted the ball and threw it into the $2,500 bucket. Curry ran back to the Warriors bench as if nothing happened, and when the announcer said they’re giving Carly the money, he raised his arms in excitement.

      SB Nation q
    • These fisherman caught a manta ray on camera that’s so big, it’s making us wonder if the Loch Ness Monster might be real

      If you’re not familiar with manta rays, they’re super cool sea creatures who look like a cross between a shark and an…

      Hello Giggles
    • Duped into killing Kim? 2 suspects say it looked like prank

      HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Two women — a Vietnamese and an Indonesian — have been arrested for allegedly coating their hands with the immensely toxic chemical agent VX and wiping them on the face of the North Korean leader's estranged half brother Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur's airport. He died within hours.

      Associated Press
    • No ‘Nerd Prom’ for Him: Trump Says He Will Not Attend the White House Correspondents Dinner

      Donald Trump is skipping the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year,” Trump tweeted to his followers on Saturday. The legendary event, known as the “nerd prom,” is traditionally attended by the president, with Barack Obama having joked in the past about the fun-loving undertone of the dinner. The news comes about a month after Trump, 70, was sworn in as President of the United States.

      People
    • Warren Buffett just shared his best investment advice, and said the 'elite' have wasted $100 billion ignoring it

      Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is out with its annual letter to shareholders. The letter...

      Business Insider
    • Game Of Thrones actor and UK's tallest man Neil Fingleton dies aged 36

      Game of Thrones actor and former UK's tallest man Neil Fingleton has died at the age of 36. The successful actor also appeared in Doctor Who and X-Men: First Class, Avengers: Age of Ultron, after a basketball career that saw him play professionally in Spain, China, Italy, Greece and England. Raised in County Durham, he starred in HBO's iconic Game Of Thrones series as the giant Mag The Mighty in 2014.

      International Business Times UK q
    • All the Celebrities Sitting Front Row at Milan Fashion Week (9 photos)

      While we love the clothing, models, and new trends that emerge during Fashion Week, one of our favorite parts of the show takes place just beyond the runway: the front row. The coveted seating section is home to the best of the best, from all-around it-girl Olivia Palermo and A-list celebrities like Salma Hayek , to edgy, fashionable men like Tom Hiddleston and A$AP Rocky. And then, of course, there's the wow-worthy fashion. From sexy metallic ensembles to elegant embroidered dresses, front row-style is versatile and can be unpredictable, but always leaves us in awe. VIDEO: Watch Our Recap of Milan Fashion Week RELATED: See All the Wild and Mild Looks from the Gucci Fall 2017 Runway Show Browse through our gallery of celebrities seated front and center. Milan Fashion Week draws some of the chicest and most stylish celebrities, so keep checking in to see even more celebrities runway show sighting. Where fashion goes, fashionistas follow!

      InStyle
    • Titanic star Bill Paxton dies aged 61 after 'complications from surgery' 

      American actor Bill Paxton, who starred in Hollywood blockbusters including Titanic and Apollo 13, has died aged 61.

      The Telegraph
    • This journalist just hilariously predicted Donald Trump's tweets, and was 100% right

      Donald Trump's obsession with live-tweeting his morning cable news binges has made his erratic timeline...incredibly, disconcertingly, comically predictable. One Boston journalist proved it on Saturday morning, with his own impressively prophetic tweet. SEE ALSO: The president is literally tweeting what he sees on TV David Bernstein was watching Fox and Friends when he saw guest Hermain Cain (Remember him? The Hermainator?) regurgitate a bogus stat—one clearly too tantalizing for our Twitter-egg-in-chief to resist amplifying. Cain claimed, somewhat misleadingly, that the national debt decreased $12 billion during Trump's first month in office,  compared to a $200 billion jump in the same time

      Mashable q
    • 8-year-old fatally shot in Houston after car crash

      An 8-year-old girl was fatally shot following a car crash in Houston, Texas, early Saturday morning, police said.

      ABC News q
    • Transgender wrestler wins Texas championship for girls

      (Reuters) - Mack Beggs, a 17-year-old high school wrestler who is transitioning from female to male, took home gold in the 110-weight class of the Texas girls state championship after the state refused to allow the student to compete against boys. The University Interscholastic League, which governs school sports in Texas, said the state's education code allows the use of a banned drug such as steroids if it "is prescribed by a medical practitioner for a valid medical purpose." Beggs' win came days after the Trump administration revoked landmark guidance to public schools letting transgender students use the bathrooms of their choice, reversing a signature initiative of former Democratic President Barack Obama. Beggs, a junior at Trinity High School in the Dallas suburb of Euless, had a 52-0 record ahead of the weekend tournament and was favored to win the high school championship in his weight class.

      Reuters
    • 25-year-old named as suspect in New Orleans parade crash that injured 28

      The victims ranged in age from 3 or 4 years old to adults in their 30s or 40s.

      ABC News q
    • Kim suffered painful death within 20 minutes of attack: minister

      Kim Jong-Nam was dead within 20 minutes of being attacked and would have suffered a painful death as his major organs shut down, according to Malaysia's health minister.

      AFP Videos
    • The mistake that caused Warren Buffett to lose $6 billion

      “Today, I would rather prep for a colonoscopy than issue Berkshire shares,” writes Warren Buffett in his latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) shareholders. “I earlier described our gradual shift from a company obtaining most of its gains from investment activities to one that grows in value by owning businesses,” Buffett writes. “Launching that transition, we took baby steps — making small acquisitions whose impact on Berkshire’s profits was dwarfed by our gains from marketable securities.

      Yahoo Finance
    • Key developments in Kim Jong Nam assassination investigation

      KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Key developments in the investigation into the killing of the North Korean leader's estranged half brother at Kuala Lumpur's airport on Feb. 13:

      Associated Press
    • Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki Have Called It Quits: Report

      Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki are reportedly no longer an item. According to Page Six, the retired Yankees legend, 41, and his entrepreneur girlfriend have called their relationship off after having been together just short of a year. “They were an unusual couple, from very different backgrounds, but they are both smart business people, and had quite a few things in common, including a fascination with the tech world,” a source told the outlet.

      People