Guess what I got in the mail to review and give away?
Well, I suppose with the title and picture and all, it's not a big surprise.
I got seduced with a pitch for Quest Cravings Peanut Butter Cups--a high protein, low sugar alternative to a regular Peanut Butter Cup. And they sent me some Quest Protein bars to try as well.
Those who leave a comment will be eligible to win a big ol' box of their choice!
But first, what did I think of the Quest Bars and Quest Cravings Peanut Butter Cups?
I am not normally a big fan of energy bars or power bars or whatever you want to call them. You know, those things that (a) look like candy bars but (b) don't taste remotely like candy bars because (c) they are supposed to be good for you.
First off, power bars generally aren't all that good for you. They're not whole foods. They should be used either as Emergency Snacks when whole foods aren't available, or should be considered treats.
Power bars that taste like something you'd eat on purpose are generally full of sugar--even though the label may try to obscure that fact by calling it evaporated organic cane juice. And they rarely offer anything all that impressive in the protein and fiber department.
Power bars that are full of protein and fiber and are filling do exist! But they tend to have way too many calories for something that usually tastes like:
So imagine my surprise...
When I discovered I actually really liked these Quest bars!
These things kick power-bar ass in terms of nutritional benefits. They've got no added sugar, are low carb and low calorie, and have a crapload of protein and fiber. Yet they taste fine!
In fact, this is one of those annoying review opportunities where I get something for free and then became a helpless addict and may now be forced to fork over my own money to buy them, as well as deal with the consequences of eating 380 grams of fiber everyday which could well happen if I don't start exercising a little more self-restraint.
I eat pretty healthy and don't allow myself REAL candy bars. So my standards are perhaps somewhat low for "addictive." And I think these are great as a treat you don't have to feel terribly guilty about, not as a substitute for real food.
Plus I'd already learned to like stevia and lo han guo and the other sweeteners they use. (Though even the Lobster, who doesn't like stevia, found them tasty). But it would be dumb of me to try to predict whether others would notice the non-sugary nature of the sweetness. Some varieties use sucralose (splenda) but others use stevia and erythritol. They protein comes from whey, not soy, which I prefer for a lot of reasons.
I also have to confess, the first one I tried was a chocolate one, and I kinda went "meh." This is probably because I am a chocolate fiend, and am much fussier when my favorite flavor is involved. Also, these bars tend to have a chewier texture than some bars, rather than being crunchy or fluffy, which takes a few bites to get used to. But I soon became very fond of all the flavors, damn it.
What's Awesome About Quest Bars:
Lots of different flavors;
Very low carb;
Low calorie (160-210 depending on flavor)
20 grams of bioavailable protein;
17-18 grams of prebiotic fiber;
Really Freakin' Filling;
Not a lot of fake ingredients;
Taste pretty darn good.
And so what about the product I was supposed to review?
Quest Cravings Peanut Butter Cups.These are also pretty amazing, in that who would even attempt to concoct a high protein, low sugar alternative to a regular Peanut Butter Cup? What were they smoking when they thought they could pull that off?
They've got 240 calories for two pretty large cups per serving, with 21 grams of protein and no sugar used. Fiber is less ambitious than the bars, at 3 grams.
Unfortunately, I didn't like them as much as the bars--the sweeteners have a more noticeable after-taste. But that doesn't mean I didn't EAT them; they kinda grew on me. They're not a bad substitute when you're really craving candy and don't want a damn apple with peanut butter or something more virtuous. They seem a bit more like candy than the power bars, even if they don't pull it off quite as convincingly. The big-ass protein portion means if you had one as an afternoon snack, it could hold you until dinner and won't set you up for a sugar crash like regular candy.
So, on to the giveaway!
Just leave a comment to enter. Winner will be announced next Wednesday December 12th; check in by Monday the 17th to claim your prize or I'll give 'em to someone else. Or perhaps eat your winnings myself!!
What do you guys think about power bars as snacks or fake peanut butter cups or non-sugar sweeteners generally?
Energy bar cartoon: Someecards
Brick: Byron Bowerman