December 05, 2012

Sweet Giveaway and Review: Quest Bars and Peanut Butter Cups

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?

Quest Bars

Some Background:

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;
No sugar;
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



  1. By the way, apologies for various blog screw ups!

    I accidentally hit "publish" instead of preview yesterday when this was half written, then yanked it back, but not before it hit everyone's feed readers, sorry!

    And I know the "related posts" widget is totally fucked up; if I don't get some tech help I'll try to figure out how to take it out.

    Thanks for your patience!

  2. I'd like to win, so here's my comment. I would go with the Quest Bars. The peanut butter cups don't sound as appealing. :)

    My Journey to Lose 225 pounds through healthy choices...145 down, 80 left to go!

  3. Like you, I've had a hard time finding energy bars that aren't full of, well, crap and taste decent - so I'm definitely trying these. I appreciate your review, there is nothing worse than buying an energy bar, hoping that this will be THE one that somehow tastes like food you might actually eat and it's either saw dust or so sweet you can feel your teeth rotting as you chew. A little heads-up is good.

    I might see if the boyfriend will try the peanut butter cups, he's a fan.

    Is that surprised looking cat yours?


    1. Not our cat, just swiped from the web for a quick reenactment!

  4. The cat is WONDERFUL :):):) Reminds me of my own, late 'tuxedo' fella. He was always "dressed" and ready to go, although with a slightly more demure persona.

    I'm sure I'd prefer the bars (v. cups) if I won the give-away, but, it's probably the bars that are being given away? AND, if I won, I'd also have to consider shipping 'em off to Kimberly to whom I feel compelled to extend a hearty "Brava!" What an accomplishment!!

    1. Your choice, bars or cups!!

      And I agree, tuxedo cats are adorable.

  5. As a strength trainer who isn't particularly fussed about nutrition, I love protein snacks. I mean, how many chicken breasts and whey shakes can a girl chow down every day? I'm mostly hooked on the Supreme Protein bars, which are the most like real candy I can find, but they're only 200 calories and have 15 grams of protein. I'm impressed that Quest can also stick in a whack of fibre and still make them edible. I'm not entering the giveaway, BTW, just blabbing.

    Off topic, but I had some trouble getting my comment through the other day, and I wanted to let you know that I LOVE the ebook! You have the best worst attitude!

    1. Oh thank you so much Trabb's Boy! And I hate to hear about comments not getting through, because unfortunately I do not have the web savvy to do anything about it but sob. And good to know about Supreme Protein bars too, the more alternatives the better!

  6. I am a peanut butter cup fiend! Like, I rarely have them for someone who loves them so much because once I get started, FORGET ABOUT IT.

    I'd try those, is what I'm sayin'.

  7. I'd like to try the peanut butter cups. I hike/backpack a lot and always trying to find new food that has some good calories/nutritional stuff that make it worth throwing in the pack and heading up the trail. Especially on a 5 - 8 day backpacking trip.

    What is the likely hood of melting while in a pack during a hot summer day?

    1. They seem pretty much on par with regular pb cups in terms of meltability BC, so I'm guessing... pack napkins!

    2. Cranky - That's what I thought. That's the big downside of trying to backpack with chocolate. Or at least the chocolate I like. What's the shelf life of the power bars & PB cups? Made with real food, I would suspect it is rather short.

    3. Sorry bc, couldn't find an expiration date, but they're well-wrapped and for some reason it's my vague impression they're built to hang out for awhile, but sorry to not have any actual info handy.

  8. Crabby, you make everything sound so good. I can't stand peanut butter cups and if I am going to eat something shaped like a candy bar, it will be a candy bar. Maybe once I have lost some weight and have broken the sweets habit I might try some power bars, but, I have a feeling that is a few years down the road yet.

  9. Totally want the peanut butter cups. Don't give a damn about the energy bars, but I'd totally eat them if I won.

  10. I have picked up a power bar at the cash counter, and put it back because I felt like it wouldn't taste good. Would love to try these Quest ones!

  11. What do I think about power bars as snacks? Not much. But that is just me. I have yet to find one that tastes good, is good for you, has about 100 calories and one that doesn't need a magnifying glass to see it. I've tried so many and none of the truly healthy sounding ones have made me want to go buy more. It is good my son takes his lunches from home. He gets the bars I don't care for and thinks his mom loves him to get such fancy things in his lunchbox. I know...I hang my head in shame to admit I do this.

    As far as fake peanut butter cups and non sugar sweeteners...I have tried many. Some things I like, like sugar-free cheesecake flavored instant pudding mixed into zero fat Greek yogurt and topped with 'Just the Fruit" jam. I like the sugar-free popsicles I enjoy at times. Otherwise I pretty much do not care for the 'fake' stuff. I will taste the chemical taste in some of it, and others just don't taste right. Instead I get the real deal and eat less of it or divide it up over several days or take one bite and freeze the rest.

    And no, I am not always successful at that, but I get over myself and get on with living life in a healthy way. I must be doing something least the scale seems to agree. :D

    Oh and about the prize, yes, enter my name in the hat. I'll try anything once. Plus my son can always use an extra treat in his lunch box. :)

  12. The only bars I buy are larabars. I haven't found any other bars that I remotely like, most of them have a fake gross aftertaste to them that I cannot get over.

    I love peanut butter cups, like I would bathe in them if that were acceptable.

  13. Since I already sneak protein powder into most of the baked goods that come out of my kitchen (with decidedly mixed results) and eat so much splenda I can feel my cells mutating even as we speak, those protein-containing peanut butter cups are definitely intriguing!

  14. Love peanut butter. Would like to try

  15. I'm pretty sure I would rather eat hay. Which is at least high fiber, if not high protein.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  16. The power bars seems lot more appetizing. I'd like to try them.

  17. So, I actually do eat a lot of energy bars as I don't eat meat, so I need to be more creative with my protein intake. Generally I look for bars that are under 250 calories, low to no sugar or weird stuff, and hopefully taste good, although that's something I'm sadly flexible on lol

    Now the peanut butter cups...hello!

  18. The bars sound like something I would like to try although I hope not to get addicted to them. ;) you are so right about many of the offerings out there not being able to pull it off in terms of healthy AND tasty. I've thrown some out after one bite.

  19. I love these bars. I have purchased Quest bars in the past from GNC. To me, they taste good, and they are healthier than a typical protein bar.

  20. I am going to look for these! I'm all about the peanut butter cups and if they have some pretensions at appealing to my taste buds, I'll be a happy camper.

  21. I love the chocolate bar..I love to eat and give also my friend. My favorite bar was galaxy its very sweet and delious chocolate bar. If i was stress i eat only that chocolate my stress get away with me.. If we eat sweet food we feel better..and if we eat when we are hungry it helps us for our stomach.

  22. I've never heard of Quest bars and it looks like their stats are great - now I'm going to look for them!

  23. Would love to win these bars =)

  24. Protein bars help get me through mid afternoon slumps til dinner!

  25. Protein bars help get me through mid afternoon slumps til dinner!

  26. Quest bars are hands down my favorite protein bars. They pack so well (no melting or crumbling), and they come in an awesome range of flavors. Nuke an apple pie one for a few seconds, add a squirt of sf whipped cream, and you've got guilt-free dessert. I've been eyeing the pb cups for months now, but am trying to resist until I work through my overstock of protein bars. But hey ... if I win them that's a whole different story, right?

  27. I haven't tried Quest bars yet... keep meaning to, a friend says they're awesome, but I haven't found them locally yet and would like to try one before committing to buying a box online.
    And peanut butter cups? LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM.
    I'm with you, Cranky, I generally avoid stuff like power bars unless I need to take something with me on the 10-hour drive to my family that lives in middle-of-nowhere. I figure it's better than being tempted by fast food.
    I would highly recommend you try Heart Thrives and Sun Cakes by Healthy Baking Company - these I ADORE and the ingredients don't sound like a list of scary food-like chemicals... oats, fruit... yum!

  28. A friend put me onto Quest Bars a few months back and I love them for the same reasons you list. I avoid other power/energy bars for the same reasons as you as well. So the thought of a Quest PB cup has me bouncing in my seat. Sounds like a WIN to me.

  29. Not much of an energy bar eater--- usually like to eat real food. Same problems you mention: aftertaste, weird combo of sweeteners, etc.
    That being said, I would try the bar. Not so much the peanut butter cup.

  30. I've never tried these bars, but I think I'm more intrigued by the peanut butter cups. It wouldn't be something I would eat everyday, but I'd definitely like to try a healthier alternative to chocolate.

  31. Quest has such a great variety of flavors!!
    I will have an occasional bar to get thru a long day or when i need a good sized snack, the fake sugars that are natural (stevia) im ok with, anything made in a lab i try to avoid... Those peanut butter cups sound super amazing!

  32. You had me at hello. Your blog is making me seriously hungry. The last post I read had the picture of the box of cupcakes, now this, and they're even good for me. :)I'm in.

  33. I.WANT.THOSE!!!! i like protein bars far too much and have yet to find a brand that is not tasty but crappy. so would ya please send them over here????

  34. What good timing, I JUST found your blog and you're going right into my google reader, btw :)
    I"m like you, I pretty much use protein bars as my candy bar because I haven't had a real candy bar (minus the occasional fun size) in so long and am not used to a lot of sugar anymore. Real people dessert tends to put me in a sugar coma and I don't even like the taste. But as this is the case, I use these kind of as a treat, dessert food, and always travel with them on work trips when I'm stuck in a hotel room and have limited access to real food.
    I"m actually really interested in trying these! I think I"ll go look for them regardless of winning this giveaway!

  35. The one with the berries on the wrapper looks interesting, or the coconut ones.

  36. PB cups sound very interesting. Low carb for me (which doesn't usually include anything sweet).

  37. i'll eat protein bars when in a hurry or i don't have any other food around. would love to try Quest!

  38. A good protein bar is hard to find. Hook me up, Crabby!

  39. Quest bar sounds worth a try! fake peanut butter cup sounds a bit scary!

  40. These sound great, would love to try them as I'm always looking for a low-sugar bar!

    xmeliss182x (at) yahoo (dot) com

  41. Very interesting. I'll have to try these out. It really is hard finding high quality health bars that don't taste like a brick. I've done the healthy peanut butter cups bid before and was not pleased with the taste, but if what you're saying is true (and it probably is) then i'd definitely be willing to take a chance on these.


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