In case you hadn’t noticed, I like food. A lot. I also want to look good in a bikini.
Therein lies a dilemma.
I have an insatiable sweet tooth and a love for all things naughty. We all know that sugar is bad (but oh so good), and in a vain attempt to improve my diet, I decided to switch my usual afternoon sugar-fest for ‘Quest Bars’, which claim to use “cutting-edge ingredients to create products with clean nutritional profiles that taste like you’re eating something unhealthy.” Sound perfect, right?
Quest Bars first came on my radar via health & fitness accounts that I follow on Instagram.
With flavours like double chocolate chunk, cookies & cream and chocolate chip cookie dough, my interest was naturally peaked, and I wanted to find out if these bars were as good as they sounded.
After a little Googling, I learnt that Quest Bars are all 60g bars with an average of 200 calories, 2g saturated fat, 20g total carbs and, most impressively, 20g of protein and 1g of sugar. If you know your stats, you will know that these are solid. I was sold, albeit sceptical – could these bars really taste good?
Thanks to Posted Protein, a website dedicated to, quite literally, posting you protein, my pick n’ mix 12-flavour variety pack (£22.00) arrived within 24 hours and I had my first Quest Bar in hand the same afternoon.
So, here are my thoughts…
If you’ve never had a protein bar before, the texture takes a little getting used to, but once you’ve adapted to the chewy, slightly gritty consistency, you will be one happy monkey. I promise.
Double Chocolate Chunk – 2/5:
Cals: 160; Sat fat: 2.5g; Total carbs: 25g, Sugar: 1g; Protein: 20g
Although it is chocolatey, the chocolate flavour does taste quite manufactured, unlike the flavours of many of the other bars. However, I preferred it to the “Chocolate Brownie”, as at least the ‘chocolate chunks’ mix up the repetitive texture and add a real chocolatey hit. Still, not one I’d buy again in light of how much I like some of the others.
White Chocolate Raspberry – 3/5
Cals: 190; Sat fat: 3.5g; Total carbs: 23g, Sugar: 1g; Protein: 20g
Both the white chocolate & raspberry flavours were strong, though still a little artificial tasting. The ‘white chocolate chunks’ were creamy and closely resembled the real McCoy and, if I closed my eyes and put a little effort in, I was almost able to convince myself that the ‘bittiness’ of the bar was coming from actual raspberry pips, so a pretty good effort overall. I did find it a little sickly though and it was nowhere near my favourite of the lot.
Chocolate Peanut Butter – 3/5
Cals: 180; Sat fat: 1g; Total carbs: 25g, Sugar: 2g; Protein: 20g
This bar nails a chocolatey-PB hit without being too sickly. If you’re like me and can’t stop the deadly spoon-to-jar-to-mouth action once you’ve started, then I would definitely recommend this protein bar. But, overall, I preferred the bars with chunks in them, hence the 3/5 score.
Cookies & Cream – 5/5
Cals: 180; Sat fat: 3g; Total carbs: 22g, Sugar: 1g; Protein: 21g
Mmmmmm cookies & creammmm. This bar has a marshmallowy sweetness to it and I loved the biscuit crunch of the ‘cookies’. It is a little sickly though so be warned. My 3rd favourite bar.
Chocolate Brownie – 1/5
Cals: 170; Sat fat: 1g; Total carbs: 24g, Sugar: 1g; Protein: 20g
Surprisingly, considering its name, my least favourite of all the bars I sampled. A worse version of the “Double Chocolate Chunk”, in my opinion, since the chocolate flavour is very artificial-tasting and there are no chunks to break up the claggy texture.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – 5/5
Cals: 190; Sat fat: 3g; Total carbs: 21g, Sugar: 1g; Protein: 21g
You are in for an absolute treat with this one! It’s the bar which best achieves its name and was the closest replica of the real thing since the natural ‘grittiness’ of all the Quest/protein bars, combined with the cookie dough flavouring, accurately resembles that crystallised sugary crunch you get from real cookie dough. AND it was PACKED with BIG chocolate chunks that actually taste like chocolate. Essentially, you’re eating cookie dough. My 2nd favourite bar.
*Side note*: Also, as a result of my daily Insta-scrolling I have learnt that you can put Quest bars in the microwave for 30 seconds, re-mould them into cookie shapes, and put them under the grill for a few minutes to have legit, straight-out-of-the-oven, healthy, protein-packed cookies. The chocolate chip cookie dough is definitely going to be my choice of flavour when this stroke of genius gets put into action!
Cinnamon Roll – 3/5
Cals: 170; Sat fat: 0g; Total carbs: 25g, Sugar: 1g; Protein: 20g
This flavour’s not bad, but nothing special either. It masters the ‘Cinnabon’ roll flavour but, texturally, it’s so far off from the real thing that it didn’t give me any ‘naughty pleasure’. Essentially, a decent cinnamon-flavoured bar that’s just a tad boring. It did have a few small, crunchy, ‘sugary balls’, but there weren’t many of these and, satisfaction-wise, they didn’t add much for me. I’m all about the chocolate chunks.
Peanut Butter Supreme – 4/5
Cals: 220; Sat fat: 1.5g; Total carbs: 21g, Sugar: 2g; Protein: 20g
If you are a peanut butter fanatic (HOLLA), then you will LOVE this flavour. It’s PB flavour is seriously on point (I am now going to take this powdered peanut butter hype seriously), and the big pieces of peanut dotted throughout the bar make you feel like you’re worthily cheating on a jar of crunchy Skippy (forgive me Skippy). This bar definitely tastes like a ‘cheat treat’, and I would deffoes buy it again.
S’mores – 5/5
Cals: 180; Sat fat: 3g; Total carbs: 22g, Sugar: 1g; Protein: 20g
THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD. HUMUNGOUS chocolate and Graham Cracker-esque biscuity chunks intermingled amongst an otherwise fairly basic, spongey light flavour. I can’t explain my love for the S’mores bar and I have consumed in the multiples of tens since I started writing this review. MY FAVOURITE FLAVOUR.
So, do I agree that Quest Bars are “cheat meals without the cheating”?
It depends on the flavour, and your willingness to mentally accept that you’re eating a healthy alternative. Sweet potato brownies don’t taste as good as a really dense, rich, indulgent chocolate brownie, BUT, they still taste pretty damn good, and make you feel a hundred times better. So it’s really up to you whether you choose to embrace them or not…
Personally, I’m sold. My favourite Quest Bars tick the ‘naughty box’ for me without giving me the guilts and actually have a strong nutritional profile, as far as packaged snacks go. If you love sugar but not the after-effects I’d definitely give Quest Bars a go! I also highly recommend dipping them in tea… game changer.
What’s your favourite flavour?