Best Buy Quest Bars VERIFIED
As a teen in the '90s, I remember hitting the weight room to bulk up for football season. I was told I needed a steady diet of protein to get the most gains. Although I could've consumed more chicken, or even some protein powder, I decided to choke down bulky, gold foil-wrapped protein bars.
best buy quest bars
Thankfully, protein bars have come a long way in the last 25 years. You no longer have to settle for inedible junk. Today's options taste so good you'll crave them even when you aren't trying to make the most of your workouts.
Although I'm well beyond my bulking high school phase, I'm still quite active and use protein bars to supplement my workouts. Below are my five current favorites, which are enjoyable to eat while also adding protein to my daily intake. I've also included answers to a few FAQs, including how to calculate your daily protein, at the end of this guide.
With most protein bars, it's hard to tell exactly what you're eating. They're typically highly-processed with a long list of artificial ingredients only chemists can pronounce. This isn't the case with Kind's Protein Bar.
Many sources suggest that you should get at least 20 grams of protein after a workout to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Despite this recommendation, there are relatively few protein bars that actually reach that threshold. One such bar is the Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, which has 21g protein in each 60g bar. There's also an exceptionally high level of fiber: 15 grams.
When looking at the wrapper, the first thing you notice is that the few, simple ingredients they use to make their bars are listed on the front. For example, the company's most popular flavor, chocolate sea salt, is made from three egg whites, six almonds, four cashews, two dates, chocolate, cocoa, natural flavors, and sea salt. That's it.
Each chocolate sea salt bar has 12g protein, 210 calories, 9g fat, 240mg sodium, 13g sugar, and 5g fiber. There are no trans fats, which are generally considered bad for you. Plus, the bars are in the middle of the pack price-wise for our guide - $1.57 per bar and 15.3 cents per gram of protein.
My Insider colleagues, Mara Leighton and Mary Hanbury, both recommend the RXBar. Mary taste-tested 12 of the most popular protein bars, and the chocolate chip RXBar was her favorite. Mara also liked the taste and that the ingredients are clean and simple.
The biggest negative is the cost. At its current Amazon price for a box of 12 bars, it costs $2.91 per bar. This works out to an expensive 26.5 cents per gram. Yet, if you want a little protein boost after a workout, it may be worth it for a tasty option that transports well and is easy to scarf down.
Want to know the best energy bars, energy chews, protein bars, and meal replacements available today? Our food junkies sampled and survived off of over 50 different varieties in the last eight years, and recommend 17 favorites. We've scrambled up mountains, climbed big alpine routes, run ultras, and spent whole winters backcountry skiing while eating these bars (and a lot of others that didn't make the list). We've also conducted blind texture and taste tests with friends, and assessed them for caloric efficiency and healthy ingredients to make sure others agree with our assessments. Whether you want an easy snack on your work break or need the most palatable quick sugar fixes for training missions or races, we've got some recommendations for you.
If you're heading into the backcountry for a few days, we hope you're planning to eat more than just bars! We've tested an array of backpacking stoves, camping cookware, and even camping coffee and chosen our favorites.
The only major downside to these bars is that they tend to crumble in the package, especially in hot temperatures. However, the crumbs are super easy to eat out of the stiff, waxy packaging. These bars aren't cheap, but what energy bar is? For 260 calories, they're a great value. They also contain a lot of sugar (9g per serving, or 18g per bar), but a closer dive into the ingredients list reveals that organic honey is the only added sweetener besides fruit and real chocolate. While this may bum out the vegans, we prefer organic honey over brown rice syrup, which is the most common sweetener used in most energy bars. If great taste, interesting and natural texture, and healthy ingredients are your jam, you will not find a better bar than Kate's Real Food.
When we think of energy bars, we most often conjure up an image of a rectangular cube of dense, chewy "food" that is not easily identifiable and a taste that is anything but "natural." But it doesn't have to be that way! Enter the Honey Stinger Organic Waffle, our most loved quick snack. Modeled after the Dutch Stroopwafel, two thin wafers sandwiching caramel goodness in the middle, these waffles are satisfyingly chewy but not gooey or sticky and taste great! Wafer-thin, they are very packable, and it's no problem to stack two or three of them into a pocket. They are also one of the most calorically dense snacks we tested and offer great value for the money spent. Finally, we have to give a shout-out to its 100% organic ingredients, showing that it is possible to mass-produce affordable organic snacks.
Larabars have quickly become a favorite of athletes and others attracted to great taste and simple ingredients. These bars also pack a decent caloric punch while being concocted from a small number of whole food ingredients. If you like the taste of sweet, fruity bars, you'll love Larabars, which use date fruit as a sticky base in which the rest of the ingredients are mixed. They come in a huge variety of interesting and creative flavors, like Apple Pie and Cinnamon Bun, and most of the flavors taste great, although they are all invariably sweet. The chewy fruit base also lends a fantastic texture that reminds you that you are eating whole foods. At over 200 calories per bar, they have a good caloric density and are super affordable.
If you don't like sweet and chewy fruit bars, you might not like the taste and feel of Larabars, though some of the flavors make it hard to remember that you are actually eating mostly fruit. Also, the ingredients are rarely organic. That said, the defining feature of these bars is their sweetness. If you like sweet and fruity bars, these will likely be your favorite in the test. If you prefer grainy bars and the textures of granola and almonds, you probably won't enjoy these. But if they are your thing, you'll love them for their taste, texture, and caloric and nutritional density, whether you're out on the trail or surviving an afternoon in the office.
The most noticeable downside to these bars is that they are half coated in chocolate, which easily melts in the sun or a pocket. Melted bars are not only a pain to eat, but the finished wrappers often leave a mess. They are not organic, and the number one sweetener listed on the package is glucose syrup, a processed ingredient that is also very high on the glycemic index, despite packaging claims of "low glycemic index." Those who want the most protein possible may not be impressed with the 12g per bar, compared to 20g in a Clif Builder's Bar. But if you like getting your protein mostly from nuts, and the texture of regular protein bars is off-putting, we think you will like the KIND Protein Bars.
Energy Chews have quickly become one of the most popular ways of ingesting glucose during intense exercise. We tested four varieties of chews and found the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews to be the best and most enjoyable. They taste great and remind us of the fruit snacks we loved as a child, except honestly, these are better than fruit snacks! They lack the waxy, stick-to-your-teeth texture we found ubiquitous in the less loved chews, making them very easy to pop in your mouth and either suck on or swallow without needing a lot of water to chase them down. Online commenters alerted us that these can be a great quick sugar hit for diabetics, although we didn't test them for these purposes. We once again love that virtually all the ingredients are sourced organically.
The downside to eating energy chews is that they are pretty much nothing but sugar, meaning you should not indulge your cravings and treat these like candy. Eat them only during the middle of long aerobic activities and workouts when normal food or bars may not seem very appetizing and when you need to keep your energy levels high. Since they are straight-up sugar, expect a crash if you don't eat about 100 calories every hour during activity. Athletes who prefer to fuel themselves with fats instead of carbs should avoid these and all gummies (0g fats, 39g sugar). The taste and texture of these chews are far preferable to the chemical taste and wax texture of GU Energy Chews or Clif Shot Bloks, but on warm days they can get a bit sticky (like honey), which can leave a residue on your fingers after eating. If you are in the market for chews, the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews are the first ones we recommend checking out.
Meat sticks aren't for everyone. First, they are usually concocted with mostly meat, which means vegetarians and vegans won't be interested. Second, they don't actually contain many calories since they are mostly protein. However, many outdoor enthusiasts on fewer hardcore outings prefer the taste and feel of real foods over-engineered energy bars, and for the meat-eaters out there, the Vermont Smoke and Cure Jerky Sticks are our favorite. They taste great, feel like real meat, and aren't too dry. We like how the meat used is relatively trustworthy and not treated with growth hormones. Overall, if you are seeking meat on the trail or as a quick snack, these meat sticks are a great option.
Taste testers raved about how delicious and natural tasting the Taos Bakes bars are. These hefty bars come in a wide variety of flavors, including Almond Agave + Cinnamon, Toasted Coconut + Vanilla Bean, and Caramel Pecan + Cranberries. All have distinctly different textures, which greatly adds to the joy of eating them and prolongs our enjoyment before bar burnout sets in. These bars are the next generation of Taos Mountain Bars, with slightly smaller packages and mild tweaks to the recipes. We love how the ingredient lists on these bars are short in length but long in organic ingredients such as oats, almonds, and raisins. Indeed, one of the first things you will notice when biting into one is how "real" this bar tastes compared to the heavily processed imitators. 041b061a72