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

    • Russia creates 'unstoppable' hypersonic Zircon missile with Navy destroying 4,600mph speed

      Russia claims to have created a devastating hypersonic missile that travels five times faster than the speed of sound and could rip through navy warship defences because it's too fast to stop. The Kremlin's Zircon missile has been called "unstoppable", "unbeatable" and "undefendable" with a 4,600mph speed that only one defence system in the world can destroy – that system is owned by Russia. The missile employs revolutionary scramjet technology to reach its hypersonic speeds whereby propulsion is created by forcing air from the atmosphere into its combustor where it mixes with on-board fuel – rather than carry both fuel and oxidizer like traditional rockets.

      International Business Times
    • United responds to critics after barring 2 teens for leggings

      United Airlines responded to criticism it received on Sunday after it barred two teenage girls from boarding a flight because they were wearing leggings. The story came to light after Shannon Watts, an activist who witnessed the exchange at an airport in Denver, tweeted about it early Sunday. "A @united gate agent isn’t letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed?" Watts tweeted.

      Good Morning America
    • Everyone is laughing at Fox News for its 'alert' about Trump working from the White House

      Fox News has been widely mocked after it tweeted a “news alert” stating that Donald Trump was working over the weekend. The news organisation, which is one of the few media outlets to support the controversial president, whose approval ratings are at a historic low for a new president, shared the bizarre update yesterday. “News Alert: @POTUS spending weekend working at the White House,” the tweet read.

      Yahoo News UK
    • United Airlines stopped girls in yoga pants from boarding flight — even after promoting leggings as travel wear

      As boarding incident gains social-media traction, airline explains the passengers in question were flying on passes typically used by employees and their families.

      MarketWatch q
    • People
    • Massive gold coin worth millions stolen from German museum

      BERLIN (AP) — Thieves broke into the German capital's Bode Museum before dawn Monday and made off with a massive 100-kilogram (221-pound) gold coin worth millions of dollars, police said.

      Associated Press
    • Chris Pratt trolls the 'too thin' bodyshamers on Jurassic World 2 set

      Chris Pratt has been busy filming ‘Jurassic World 2’, but he’s also pretty busy trolling the bodyshamers who reckon he’s looking too thin. Some background – the once kind-of chubby, now totally ripped star has been posting a series of videos detailing his on-set snacking while making the dino-sequel. Called (obviously) #whatsmysnack, he shines the spotlight on a range of healthy snacks which, judging by his inability to pronounce some of them – we’re looking at you ‘cacao baobab banana chia’ – he may not be making himself. ...

      Yahoo Movies UK
    • This $29 Billion Copter Could Soon Approval From the Pentagon

      The Pentagon is poised to review -- and probably approve -- a new helicopter from Lockheed Martin Corp. to transport heavy cargo for the Marine Corps in a program valued at as much as $29 billion.

      Bloomberg q
    • NBA mock draft 2017: Lonzo Ball falls, De’Aaron Fox rises after NCAA tournament showcase

      The golden rule in the NBA scouting community is never overreact to a single game. It’s at the intersection of those two rules that we present a new mock draft in the wake of De’Aaron Fox’s thorough dismantling of Lonzo Ball in the Sweet 16. Fox didn’t just outplay Ball, he buried him: 39 points on 20 shots with the season on the line.

      SB Nation q
    • Why Republicans dutifully defend Trump's most ridiculous lies

      In the past, presidents have told big lies mostly for one of two reasons. In the midst of scandal or failure, they told lies to protect themselves and deny that they had done wrong: I am not a crook, we did not trade arms for hostages, I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Or they lied to convince the public to go along with a policy initiative, whether a war or a tax cut or a new program, when the truth was insufficiently persuasive. Unlike his predecessors, President Trump lies for any reason at all. I imagine the sinking feeling his aides get when he blurts out another whopper. "Now I'm going to have to go out and defend this," they say with a sigh, then huddle together to arrive

      The Week q
    • People are freaking out that United told women they couldn't wear leggings on a flight — here's what really happened

      United Airlines refused to let two women board a flight on Sunday because they were wearing...

      Business Insider
    • After Trump spent the weekend on his golf course, Fox News sends out an odd 'news alert'

      Some critics of President Trump and the news media argue that political commentators have set an unusually low bar for Trump. At 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, the news division of Fox News sent out this "news alert": In fact, Trump spent Saturday and Sunday at his golf course in Sterling, Virginia. His staff said he was in meetings, but social media posts showed he was wearing his golf attire and spending time on the links. "Normally, I'd suggest that everyone cool it with the golf snark," notes Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. "We've now had four consecutive presidents who have taken endless grief every time they hit the links, and it's pretty stupid." But not only was this Trump's 13th trip to one of his

      The Week q
    • Kristin Cavallari Shows Off Her Bikini Body on Vacation with Husband Jay Cutler

      Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler jetted off to Mexico for a romantic getaway

      People
    • Christina El Moussa shuts down mommy-shamers with epic response: 'It's cali people it's what we do'

      Popular house flipper Christina El Moussa received some serious backlash over the weekend after she posted a bikini-clad picture with her seven-year-old daughter on Instagram. Not the one to keep quiet, the Flip Or Flop co-host decided to respond to haters, who have been "mommy-shaming" her with another Instagram picture. What looked like a fun caption was actually meant to be a clap back at the haters, who earlier slammed Christina for her mother-daughter photo in matching lavender bikinis.

      International Business Times
    • Donald Trump's Latest Approval Rating Dipped As President's 'Trumpcare' Bill Struggled

      President Donald Trump has been unpopular his entire tenure and it doesn't look like that's changing any time soon. The latest Gallup tracking poll pegged the president's support at 40 percent on the dot Saturday. Fifty-four percent of Americans, meanwhile, disapproved of the job Trump was doing.

      Newsweek
    • Berkeley killing renews debate over gender pronouns

      BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Pablo Gomez Jr. was a University of California, Berkeley, senior majoring in Latino studies and a prominent campus activist when authorities say he stabbed to death a popular elementary-school teacher.

      Associated Press
    • 7 Outdated Clothing Items Men Need to Immediately Throw Out

      Instead of waiting to do your annual spring cleaning, take the initiative now. If you see any of these items in your closet, it's time to remove them ASAP.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • Roof-jumping teen’s devastated friends: ‘It’s hard to believe’

      Devastated friends of the roof-jumping teen who plunged to his death from a Brooklyn building wept on the street Saturday, just blocks from where he died. More than a dozen teens created a sidewalk memorial to Rame Pierre-Louis near his Bushwick home, with white balloons, pictures, and sidewalk chalk messages of “RIP Rame.” “He was a good person. He always got along with everybody,” said Isaiah Almodovar, 13. “I didn’t believe this at first. To be such a young age it’s hard to believe.” Leo Cordero, also 15, said Rame “was cool, he was chill, he was nice. He was a good kid.” Rame was hanging out on a roof of a Grove Street building with a 15-year-old pal Friday evening when the teens, who were

      New York Post q
    • United Airlines Tried to Bar Girls From Flight for Wearing Leggings

      On a flight from Denver to Minneapolis early Sunday morning, Shannon Watts observed a United Airlines gate agent refuse to allow two young girls on the plane because they were wearing leggings. 1) A @united gate agent isn't letting girls in leggings get on flight from Denver to Minneapolis because spandex is not allowed?

      Yahoo Style
    • Morning Jolt: Sears Has Finally Admitted That It's Dead

      This zombie retailer is on its deathbed.

      The Street q