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.

With all the so-called “healthy” messages on juice boxes, it’s tough to decipher which is really the best choice for your little ones. We’ve tasted and anylized popular juices so you’ll be better informed on your next trip to the market.

Juicy Guidelines

Even if you’re giving your kids 100% juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following:

  • 1 to 6 years: Limit juice to 4 to 6 fluid ounces per day
  • 7 to 18 years: Limit juice to 8 to 12 ounces per day

Remember, fruit juice shouldn’t be used as a substitute for whole fruit. There are no nutritional benefits of drinking juice over whole fruit. It’s important to stick to the AAP guidelines as too much juice in your kiddos' diet can lead to obesity, poor nutrition and tooth decay.

When shopping for juice, not all boxes are created equal and not all markets are stocked with the same brands. You want to look for those that are made from 100% juice as opposed to mostly sugar + water. Size also matters—for kids 6 and under, opt for the smallest (4.23 fluid-ounce) box whenever possible.

The Criteria

For this taste test, we rated juice boxes based on taste, ingredients, portion size and nutritional information—specifically sugar and vitamin C. We chose apple juices and rated them on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest). Since these are marketed towards kids, our kids got in on the tasting action.

Rating: 5.0
Cost: $0.10 per fluid ounce

Nutrition Info (per 4.23 fluid ounces): 60 calories; 12 grams sugar; 100% vitamin C

Our Take: This is the only juice that lists 100% juice as the first ingredient (as opposed to water and juice concentrate). It also has the least amount of sugar while providing 100% vitamin C and 10% calcium too. The Sesame Street characters on the boxes are also a big hit with the little ones.

Rating: 4.0
Cost: $0.06 per fluid ounce

Nutrition Info (per 4.23 fluid ounces): 60 calories; 14 grams sugar; 100% vitamin C

Our Take: The first 2 ingredients are filtered water and concentrated apple juice, but it also contains 100% vitamin C. Unfortunately, we did discover that not all markets carry the smaller 4.23 fluid-ounce size.

Rating: 4.0
Cost: $0.07 per fluid ounce

Nutrition Info (per 4.23 fluid ounces): 60 calories; 14 grams sugar; 100% vitamin C

Our Take: The ingredient list includes ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C and accounts for the fact that it has 100% of the daily recommended amount for the vitamin. The 4.23 and 6.75 fluid ounce boxes are available—but opt for the smaller one whenever possible.

Rating: 3.5
Cost: $0.09 per 4.23 fluid ounce

Nutrition Info (per 4.23 fluid ounces):  60 calories; 14 grams sugar; 20% vitamin C

Our Take:  Water is the first ingredient listed as is ascorbic acid (AKA vitamin C)—although it only provides 20% of the daily recommendation. This juice box comes in 4.23 and 6.75 fluid ounce sizes.

Rating: 2.5
Cost: $0.06 per fluid ounce

Nutrition Info (per 6-fluid ounces):  80 calories; 20 grams sugar; 0% vitamin C

Our Take: We chose the 100% juice variety as opposed to Original Capri Sun made with high fructose corn syrup. The 6- fluid ounce portions meet the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for juice. Water and apple juice concentrate are the first 2 ingredients listed and it provides no vitamin C.

TELL US: What’s your favorite juice box?
Keep Reading

Next Up

Taste Test: Green Cold-Pressed Juice

The rising popularity of cold-press juices has brought an influx of bottled products to the market. But is there anything specific you should be looking for when you buy? .

Taste Test: Hummus

Hummus can be the perfect party food, a quick afterschool snack or a preamble to dinner with friends. With so many options at the grocery store, which brands stack up?

Taste Test: Salsa

Which brand of salsa is the best tasting and has the best nutrition? Get an RD's picks before your next fiesta.

Taste Test: Mayonnaise

We taste tested 5 different kinds of mayonnaise and analyze taste, texture, nutritional info and price.

Taste Test: Hot Chocolate

With snow piling up throughout most of the country, a steaming cup of cocoa is a perfect way to warm up. Worried about all the added sugar? We tasted popular brands and will tell you how they measured up.

Taste Test: Turkey Bacon

Do you reach for turkey bacon as a healthier alternative to conventional bacon? As it turns out, there's not always a huge difference between the two when it comes to nutrition stats.

Taste Test: Heirloom Tomatoes

Juicy tomatoes are at their peak, and that means farmers' markets are exploding with heirloom varieties. Heirloom tomatoes are special, because cultivators have saved the seeds and passed them down through the generations. They come in a range of sizes, colors and of course, flavors. We tested several varieties for taste and texture. Plus, a quick recipe for heirloom tomato sauce.

Taste Test: Frozen Pops

Now that the temperatures have climbed, it is time to stock your freezer with ice-cold treats. Not sure which ice pops are tops? Find out which ones made the grade.

Taste Test: Cranberry Sauce

A taste test of store-bought cranberry sauces.

Taste Test: Healthier Crackers

Have you perused the cracker aisle lately? In addition to the classic wheat crackers, you’ll find the shelves packed with crackers now made from legumes, nuts, grains, or seeds. But are these options really what they’re cracked up to be?