edit…. I have been sitting on this review for some time, don’t know why it never posted…
I have been hearing/ reading about Quest Bars for what seems like forever now. Friends of mine not only rant and rave about eating the bars raw, but there seems to be this whole cult like chef-ery (ok, I made that word up, I get it) where people melt these bad boys down, add ice cream or whatever else to them. Maybe I will delve deeper into this phenomenon another time, but for now, let’s stick to the bars as they are, and were meant to be, in their rawest and tastiest form.
You can walk into any convenience store, GNC or supermarket and see the usual run of the mill nutrition bars, which for the most part are packed with sugar or artificial flavors, ingredients you cannot pronounce and more. I could name some names, cause as I type I am comparing their nutrition labels to Quest’s nutrition label, but this isn’t a battle I am trying to fight nor am I bashing the “other” more convenient guys, I am just pointing out why you should dump them like a protein shaker you left in the car for 3 days and now reeks to high heaven.
Quest was started as a company that was in it for one thing, to offer the general public a choice, a healthier choice. Their bars are packed with protein, all natural ingredients, no artificial sweeteners (in their all natural line there isn’t, sucralose is used at times in minuscule amounts) and for the most part are gluten free. The carbs are low, and in most bars there are 0 active carbs as most of them are fiber.
I did have the opportunity to try a couple other Quest products as well, such as Pastabilities and Cravings. The review for both of these products will be at the end of this review, as we get into the bar flavors. I can’t wait to tell you about 99.9% of them, so, so GOOD!!
Lemon Cream Pie – Ok, hands down, lemon flavored anything is good in my book, so I was super excited to see this first in the assortment of bars I received. They were not overly lemony, which can kill it sometime as lemon is a strong flavor in and of itself. The taste was subtle, you can even taste the “crust” giving this bar a true lemon cream pie flavor profile. This is on the top of the list of favorites for sure.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Cookie Dough is not the most original of flavors, it’s probably been done to death at this point. As I say that though, there are companies that just can’t hit that right flavor and consistency. Most are too dry, not enough choco chips, etc. Quest hit it right on the mark! If I whipped up some dough right now, I am certain there will be little difference between my dough and these bars. They legitimately tasted just like raw cookie dough!
White Chocolate Raspberry – These might have been my wife’s favorite. She loved the fact that there were real raspberry seeds in the bar, not just a raspberry flavor. I enjoyed them for that, and another one of my favorite things is white chocolate, so again it’s like Quest knew this. Are these guys mind readers? I’m getting a little scared!
Cinnamon Roll – Straight out the gate, hands down, this is my favorite of all! There was not enough bar in my mind, although it was the same size as all the rest. I have an affinity for anything and everything Cinnamon flavored, these were right in my wheel house. They were perfect! Not dry, not so moist that they bent in the Nashville heat as I drove around in my work van, they were fantastic. I may very well be ordering just a box of these.
Peanut Butter Jelly – It sucks to let the air out of the tires at this point but these were just fair in my book. They were somewhat dry. While the peanut butter flavor was evident they could have used some more jelly. Maybe it would have moistened it up a bit. My son, who is 5, and a purveyor of all things pb&j did say he loved em. So, Quest does still get a small, albeit biased, vote from him!
Ultimate Brownie – This is another flavor that has been done again and again. Like mentioned in the Cookie Dough description though, it matters if you get it right or not. Dead on flavor with a brownie, extremely yummy! Not too dry, not to mushy, was very enjoyable!
Coconut Cashew – I love coconut, and my favorite nut is a cashew… Again, Quest knows me too well, and hell, we just met!! The bar itself is a perfect blend of both flavors, not to dry, yet not as moist as the others. That probably has to do with the coconut, maybe it absorbs some of the moisture? I don’t, I just know this, and that so far Quest has hit every nail on the head when it comes to taste!
Strawberry Cheesecake – This was a great surprise. Trying to clone the flavor of a cheesecake can go horrifically wrong, and it does most of the time. You get those bars that are so sour, like they are actually a cheese product and it has gone bad. I don’t know the folks at Quest but must give them mad props for hitting the mark here, amazingly similar flavor to the real thing. The real strawberries is probably what did it for me too, that stuff matters!
Apple Pie – These bars will come in handy when autumn hits. I can see firing these bad boys up in the micro for a few seconds, tearing em up into bits and putting some vanilla ice cream on it. It’s what the flavor reminded me of at least!!
Chocolate Peanut Butter – If you are looking for that chocolate fix, but are worried about the “sin of it” this is the perfect answer. Like it’s compadre, the Ultimate Brownie bar, it is laden with chocolate-y goodness, with a hint of peanut butter. It’s not over done, it’s a great mix of both flavors and I know that at least myself, my craving for something I didn’t truly want, chocolate or candy, was satiated at last.
Banana Nut Muffin – I really wished I had warmed this one up, more so then the room temperature of my 90 degree work van. You know when your making banana bread and you got to lick the spoon afterward? Yeah, these are that good!
Cookies and Cream – The newest addition to the Quest line-up and hands down, one of the best. There are little pieces of cookie heaven throughout the bar. This flavor has been done for some time via other companies and their product. Sometimes the flavor seems to synthesized and turns you off. Quest hit the mark with this new flavor and have great flavor and texture.
Here’s where we get into the other products that Quest produces. The first is the Cravings Peanut Butter Cup. These are supposed to be similar to a Reese’s peanut butter cup, I assume at least they are. Like the pb&j flavored bar, these really didn’t live up to what I was hoping for. I understand the peanut butter part of the cup is a protein blend, but it was extremely dry. The chocolate was tasty, I enjoyed it thoroughly, but had to have something to drink to get these down.
Quest Pastabilities on the other hand, were an interesting endeavor. The first thing I noticed was the fishy smell when you open the package. It wafts right out of the package, and had I not read the package and the fact that this is normal, I may never have given this a true to life shot. The noodles are packaged in an alkalized water concoction that gives them that fishy smell. After they have been rinsed a couple times, the smell is gone, completely. My family was having the regular pasta night, so I thought it would be the opportune time to give these a roll. I rinsed them and heated them up in the microwave. I added the same sauce my family was using and sat down to eat. I was pleasantly surprised. The noodles had lost all traces of that smell, and it didn’t carry over to the taste. It was just like having pasta, without all the empty carbohydrates. The one thing I will say, there was a texture similar to eating bean sprouts, this is because the noodle is made from the Konjac root. I enjoyed the noodles, both the plain and spinach.
Overall, I have been sold. I have tried many different meal replacement bars. I have tried a variety of supplements. Quest has won me over 100% and will hopefully become a staple in my diet to continue to gain and maintain lean muscle growth. As well as satisfy me on runs, hikes and those pesky OCR races!!