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

    • South Korea hits back at Trump for demanding $1bn for Thaad missile deployment

      South Korea has slammed US President Donald Trump's suggestion that Seoul should pay for the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) missile system that is now being deployed in the country. Trump had earlier questioned why the US was paying for the system that he valued at $1bn (£775m). "I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid.

      International Business Times
    • Fox Anchor Taking Surprise Vacation After Ivanka Remark Backlash

      A Fox News host who was accused of making an inappropriate sexual remark about Ivanka Trump has announced he is taking a vacation. Presenter Jesse Watters said on-air with a smirk that he "really liked how she was speaking into the microphone" while the president’s daughter appeared on a panel in Berlin last Tuesday.. Last week Fox news host Bill O’Reilly, who is widely regarded as Watters’ mentor, was sacked by the network after a slew of sexual harassment allegations.

      Newsweek
    • Should Erik Karlsson’s game-winning goal have counted?

      “We felt on their game-winning goal it should have been icing.”

      NBC Sports
    • Scientists have solved the 100-year-old mystery of Antarctica's Blood Falls

      It's been 106 years since Australian geologist Griffith Taylor discovered the vivid red falls flowing from the glacier named after him, onto the icy Lake Bonney. It was originally thought to be caused by red algae, but it wasn't until 2003 that it was decided the red color came from oxidized iron and water most likely draining from a 5 million-year-old saltwater lake. Now a study from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College confirms the glacier has not only a lake underneath it but also a water system that has been flowing for a million years. The uniqueness of Blood Falls as a time capsule for ancient microbial systems fascinates scientists and gives them a way to study the possibility of life on other planets without the need to drill into ice caps.

      Business Insider q
    • Wife of Tad Cummins Reveals Note He Left Before Running Off With Student: 'I'm So Sorry'

      Jill Cummins spoke exclusively to Inside Edition about her estranged husband, who still calls her from prison.

      Inside Edition
    • Family sues after school janitor charged with raping boy

      KINGSTON, Tenn. -- The family of a 16-year-old Tennessee high school student has filed a lawsuit against Roane County Schools and the contractor who employed a female janitor accused of raping the boy during school hours.  Citing the lawsuit filed Monday, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that the Midway High School student's family is seeking $4.5 million in damages from the school district and Compass One Services of Tennessee for negligence in allowing the rape to occur. Twenty-nine-year-old Jessica E. Galyon was arrested in February on multiple charges related to the assault. Authorities said at the time that high school officials received reports in October 2016 of Galyon exchanging sexual

      CBS News q
    • 'Fixer Upper's' Chip Gaines sued by former business partners for fraud

      "Fixer Upper" star Chip Gaines is being sued by two former business partners in a million-dollar fraud lawsuit. According to court documents obtained by KWTX, John L. Lewis and Richard L. Clark, former co-owners of Magnolia Realty, claim Gaines bought them out of the company two days before HGTV picked up "Fixer Upper" which "prominently featured the 'Magnolia' brand name." Lewis and Clark filed their 24-page lawsuit Wednesday in state district court in Waco, Texas, and are seeking more than $1 million in damages and non-monetary relief, KWTX reports. The scorned business partners say Gaines bought their shares of Magnolia Realty for $2,500 each while working with HGTV on the future hit show.

      Fox News q
    • Emma Watson Did The Worst Thing You Can Do On Jimmy Fallon's Show

      With all the dudes named Jimmy in late-night TV, who can keep anyone straight?

      The Huffington Post
    • Passenger dragged off United Airlines flight wins compensation

      The man who was dragged off a United Airlines flight in a video that went around the world has received an undisclosed financial settlement from the airline. The footage of Kentucky doctor David Dao, 69, being dragged off the flight after he refused to give up his seat to allow four United staff members to get from Chicago to Louisville went viral and sparked outrage .

      International Business Times
    • Donald Trump Upsets Puerto Rico Officials With Tweets

      Donald Trump Upsets Puerto Rico Officials With Tweets

      People
    • The Mitch Trubisky deal: Are the Bears rebuilding or hallucinating?

      Let me get this straight: The Bears traded four draft picks that their weakness-riddled roster couldn’t afford for a quarterback who started only one year and won’t play next season because they’re paying $18.5 million to a quarterback who couldn’t get nearly that much from any self-respecting team. Do I have that right? All along, it looked the Bears were rebuilding. Turns out, it looks like they’re hallucinating. In order to move up one spot in the first round Thursday, Bears GM Ryan Pace dealt the third overall pick, the 67th pick and the 111th pick in this year’s draft, along with next year’s third-rounder for the right to take a strong-armed quarterback coming off a bad bowl game. Couldn’t

      Chicago Tribune q
    • Gregg Popovich: “Kawhi Leonard is, in my opinion, the best player in the league right now”

      "He's the best two-way player, and does it all with such class, it's impressive." —Gregg Popovich

      NBC Sports
    • `My Kid is Done With Homework:` Mom`s Email to Daughter`s School Goes Viral

      A mother and blogger shared an email she sent to her daughter`s school, explaining that she would be lightening her workload because of stress.

      Tribune
    • The lawyer for the United passenger dragged off a plane is suddenly singing the airline's praises after settlement

      Thomas Demetrio, the attorney for the passenger who was dragged off a United flight earlier this...

      Business Insider
    • “I Think I’m Going to Hang It Up, LOL”: Aaron Hernandez Note to Prison Boyfriend

      Aaron Hernandez knew his prison boyfriend before either of them was locked up, says the attorney for that inmate.

      Newsweek
    • Piers Morgan tears into Kim Kardashian after her interview with Ellen DeGeneres

      Kim Kardashian's emotional interview with Ellen DeGeneres may have melted the heart of her fans but it has had zero effect on Piers Morgan. In a scathing column for the Daily Mail, the talk show host called the social media queen and her family "talentless, publicity-crazed, unctuously self-absorbed, vacuous wastrels". It was probably no secret, and you see it on the show, I was being flashy and I was definitely materialistic before," a weeping Kim told DeGeneres on the show, explaining why she had stopped flashing her flamboyant life on social media and is now concentrating on her family.

      International Business Times
    • Delta Passenger Claims He Was Booted From Flight Because He Had to Use the Bathroom

      The delayed flight returned to the gate when he got back to his seat, and he was asked to get off the plane.

      Inside Edition
    • How the Walking Dead's zombies have decayed over time (20 photos)

      It's not just Rick Grimes's beard that has grizzled with age over the past seven years. Those poor walkers have had a pretty tough time, too. It can take a lot out of you if you're wandering out in the blistering sunshine without any clothes on – or any suncream – for all that time. All while your skin keeps falling off and your teeth haven't been scrubbed since The Social Network came out. Click below to see just how the decaying walkers have got worse over time. From Digital Spy

      Digital Spy
    • U.S. says 'major conflict' with North Korea possible, China warns of escalation

      By Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said a "major, major conflict" with North Korea was possible over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, while China said the situation on the Korean peninsula could escalate or slip out of control. Trump, speaking to Reuters on Thursday, said he wanted to resolve the crisis peacefully, possibly through the use of new economic sanctions, although a military option was not off the table. "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea," Trump said in an interview at the Oval Office.

      Reuters
    • United Airlines has reached a settlement with the passenger who was dragged off a plane

      United Airlines has reached an out-of-court settlement with David Dao. According to Thomas...

      Business Insider