Juice Boxes: Are They Healthy?

Juice boxes are a convenient choice to pack in your kids’ lunchboxes, but are they really healthy?

Photo by: Kathy Dewar ©Kathy Dewar

Kathy Dewar, Kathy Dewar

Now that the kids are back in school, making sure they have plenty to drink is always on parents’ to-do list. Juice boxes are a popular beverage to pack into your little ones’ lunchboxes, but are they really a healthy choice?
YES?

Those small-sized juice boxes are convenient. Plus, according to USDA’s Choose My Plate website, 100 percent juice can count towards your daily recommended servings of fruit. Many juices also contain 100 percent of the daily recommended amount of the antioxidant vitamin C, a nutrient that kids could use more of.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, juice recommendations for kids are as follows:

  • Ages 1 to 6 years: Limit juice to 4 to 6 ounces per day.
  • Ages 7 to 10 years: Limit juice to 8 to 12 ounces per day.

Many juice boxes marketed to kids are sold as 4.23 or 6.75 fluid ounces, making it easy for kids to stick with these guidelines.

NO?

Some parents may believe that juice can take the place of fruit, but that isn’t the case. The AAP states that fruit juice doesn’t have nutritional benefits over whole fruit. They promote whole fruit, with its fiber and other nutrients, over juice. Giving in to your kiddos’ requests to drink multiple juice boxes per day will just fill their bellies with mostly water, sugar, some vitamin C and not much else.

Further, not all juices marketed to kids contain 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, which just means you’re serving your child pure added sugar.

The Bottom Line:

Juice boxes can absolutely be part of a well-balanced diet for kids. However, make sure your kids consume 100 percent juice and no more than the maximum recommended amount per day. To see how your favorite boxed juice stacked up, check out our taste test.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Taste Test: Juice Boxes

We tasted 5 popular apple juice boxes and rated them on taste, ingredients, portion size, cost and nutritional information. Find out how your favorite brand fared in our taste test.

Win This Juicer!

We're giving away a KRUPS Juice Extractor. Just let us know, in the comments, your go-to juice ingredients.

Juicing and Blending Basics

From using a juicer to picking the best ingredients, here's the everything guide to fresh fruit and vegetable drinks.

What's in the Box?

I don't have a beautiful garden, but what I do have is an organic farm in my community that will deliver to me the fresh produce I crave, without my having to hoe. It's all because I'm a member of a CSA, which stands for community supported agriculture.

Easy Lunch Box Ideas

Think bringing lunch is boring? We disagree. Sure, it may take a little extra effort each morning, but in the end, you can save money. If you want your lunch box to be the talk of the office, here are some good ideas.

Boxed Versus Bottled Water

Should you buy boxed or bottled water?

Juice Across America: Nine Fresh Juices Worth a Detour

Drink some fresh squeezed vegetable and fruit juice at one of Healthy Eats favorite Juice bars from across America.

Dr. Oz's Apple Juice Experiment

Dr. Oz is making headlines after his September 14th show aired pointing fingers at the FDA for not regulating the amount of arsenic found in apple juice. The FDA, on the other hand, is claiming that Dr. Oz is guilty of irresponsible reporting. Who should we be listening to?

Juicing: Myths vs. Facts

The juicing craze is still going strong, but many folks are still doing it for all the wrong reasons. If you love juicing, make sure you’ve got all the facts.

On TV

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.