Quest Nutrition Review: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Their Latest Products
Thank you to Quest Nutrition for sending their products in for the purposes of this review. With that said, it in no way affects our always unbiased stance on every product review we do.
There are a lot of nutrition bars on the market today, all of them promising to give you an extra boost of energy while helping you keep control of your daily caloric intake. But how many of them actually deliver on their promises?
That’s why we were so intrigued by the new Quest Nutrition bars, which promise to help you “cheat clean” by giving you 20g of protein in some amazing sounding flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Cinnamon Roll. (Yes, please!) So we received a mix of different products from Quest Nutrition and tested them to see if they might become part of our regular shopping list.
First, we started with the Quest Nutrition protein bars.
All of them combine about 20g of protein with high-quality ingredients in a variety of different flavors. We expected them to be chewy and chalky-tasting like most protein bars, but were pleasantly surprised by the flavor profiles of these bars. The bars deliver the protein via a blend of milk/whey protein, and they are completely soy and gluten free.
#1: Mocha Chocolate Chip – This was the first bar that we tried, and it didn’t disappoint. The base flavor, as you might expect, is sweet chocolate, but it’s combined with what appears to be a slightly bitter tasting coffee flavor. The overall result is a mild chocolate taste that’s made all the better by sweet chocolate chunks baked into the bars. We were actually so intrigued by the chocolate chunks that we did a bit of digging around and found out that they aren’t actually chocolate – they’re what bar makers refer to as “inclusions” – basically, a mix of ingredients that taste like chocolate and have the consistency of chocolate but… aren’t chocolate. 8/10 for taste.
#2: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – This was actually one of the better-tasting options. There are mini chocolate chunks embedded within the bar, but the overall taste is more sweet and buttery than chocolate. In fact, there’s also a sub-note of saltiness in there, giving it more of that cookie dough flavor profile. 9/10 for taste.
#3: Blueberry Muffin – We’ve never been fans of fruit bars or fruit-flavored protein bars, but the blueberry muffin protein bar surprised us. It combines little muffin chunks with pieces of dried blueberry. So you get two different tastes here – there’s the somewhat tart blueberry combined with the more subtle sweetness of the muffin. It’s a flavor that grows on you, fast. We don’t normally chow down on blueberry muffins in the afternoon, so we’d maybe recommend this as more of an early morning protein pickup before a quick AM run. 9/10 for taste.
Next, we moved on to the Quest Nutrition “Beyond Cereal” bars.
These are cereal bars – make no mistake about it, but not bland oatmeal-flavored bars, which is probably why Quest Nutrition refers to them as “Beyond Cereal” bars. Think of them as the sort of bars that are a cereal alternative to start the day, especially on a weekend brunch day when your plans might be pretty sporadic. All of them deliver 12g of protein and 7g of fiber.
#4: Waffle – Think of these as an alternative to popping frozen waffles in the toaster in the morning. A special word here about the packaging – it’s not just “waffles” – it’s waffles covered in maple syrup, with a big dollop of butter on top. And, as might be expected, this was a lot sweeter than we originally thought. The sweet taste comes from a mix of what tastes like maple syrup and buttery waffle (duh). And it’s sort of crunchy, too, so it reminded us of frozen waffles left in the toaster too long. Taste score 6/10.
#5: Cinnamon Roll – This bar is clearly designed to appeal to Cinnabon fans. Again, the packaging is worth a closer look here – there’s a photo of a sticky, fresh-baked cinnamon bun right front and center. The packaging overall is definitely attractive on these Quest products. What’s unique about this bar is that captures some of the “sticky” feeling of biting into a cinnamon bun, and the flavor here was easily the strongest of all the bars we sampled. The cinnamon flavor was immediately present as soon as we tore open the package. Taste score 7/10.
#6: Chocolate – This was the one protein bar that we put off sampling until last – there’s just something about consuming chocolate first thing in the morning that we’ve tried to avoid for a very long time. The flavor is good – it’s a blend of rich cocoa flavor that blends nicely with the somewhat chalky taste of the whey protein. And there are little chunks of chocolate in there. If given a choice between the Mocha Chocolate Chip protein bar (see above) and this cereal bar, though, we’d probably go for the Mocha Chocolate Chip for the higher protein value and not-so-sweet flavor. Taste score 8/10.
Finally, we sampled two of the Quest Nutrition protein powders.
What’s interesting about these protein powders (and perhaps all of these products) is that they are very much flavor/taste orientated- Quest are clearly wanting to end the days of consuming protein supplements just for the macronutrient values, and are creating protein products for consumers to really enjoy. Each scoop of the powder contains about 20g of protein. The marketing also suggests they are perfect to use in all kinds of recipes, turning ordinary foods into protein-rich alternatives. So if you think protein powder is only good for creating post-workout protein shakes, it’s time to revisit that assumption.
#7: Salted Caramel – This is actually sweeter than we expected. There’s the mix of salty and sweet flavor, but the dominant flavor here is definitely a sweet caramel taste. It even made us examine the packaging again, just to make sure we were drinking the right protein powder. There’s an image of caramel-covered vanilla ice cream, so that should give you a good idea of what to expect. Taste score 8/10.
#8: Cookie & Cream – This flavor is perfect for anyone who loves Oreo cookies. It’s as if a bunch of Oreo cookies were mashed up and combined into a pleasant Oreo Blizzard drink. Quest Nutrition suggests that this protein powder will let you “drink more cookies.” We’d never thought of that before, but this is definitely the kind of flavor that would work well as a baked product (i.e. “protein cookies”). Taste score 9/10.
So what are the final takeaways?
Our favorite protein bar was the Blueberry Muffin. It was less sweet than some of the other Quest offerings, not super chewy like so many other protein bars, and it was the type of bar that we could see including in our gym bags during the week. Of the cereal bars, they were perhaps a little too sweet for us, and considering the protein amounts/intended purpose, I think I’d rather have a Blueberry Muffin protein bar for breakfast. With that said, I do appreciate the creativity and desire to push the envelope here.
One important point to keep in mind is that Quest Nutrition occasionally changes the ingredients of the bars. If you read other reviews, make sure that they are describing the new, updated bars made with soluble corn fiber. Also, if you’re concerned about artificial sweeteners, just be aware that these Quest Nutrition bars use Stevia.
Protein bars are useful for many of us and have their place when we are caught in a bind, but of course shouldn’t really be a ‘go-to’. We like the direction that Quest Nutrition is headed – they are exploring ways to optimize flavor and nutrition, while combining plenty of protein in an affordably priced bar. If your taste buds are craving something sweet during the day, it’s worth trying out one of these bars from Quest Nutrition!