Hope you’re having an amazing weekend – thanks for stopping by! Today, I will talk about 7 benefits of protein, then share a review of one of my favorite on-the-go snacks … and of course, give some away to you!
- Protein aids in muscle recovery and repair. If you’re exercising or recovering from an injury, protein is essential to helping your muscles recover quickly. Did you know that the soreness you feel from exercising is often due to tiny micro-tears in your muscle fibers? This is a good thing – our muscles get stronger by breaking down slightly and then rebuilding, and protein helps speed this process along. After longer runs, I often crave a big egg and veggie scramble – a great source of protein to help me recover. Here’s the one I posted on Instagram after yesterday’s 14-miler!
- Protein keeps you full and satisfied. As you know, my MVP rule encourages a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates at each meal – not only is that what your body needs for optimal nutrition, but it’s also the best way to ensure you’re satiated!
- Protein is made of amino acids that your body needs. Amino acids are necessary for growth, immune function, tissue repair, making hormones, enzymes, and collagen, and several other critical functions.
- Protein can aid your weight loss efforts. Many articles and studies show an increase in weight loss when dieters are consuming a higher percentage of protein in their diets.
- Protein tastes great! So many foods I love and eat regularly are loaded with protein (Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken, quinoa, and many more!). Here’s a chart listing the protein content of several common foods: (picture source)
- Protein is not just about meat. I am not vegetarian or vegan, but I definitely think a vegetarian or vegan diet can be healthy if done right (you are not healthy because you’re eating French Fries at McDonald’s for lunch every day instead of a cheeseburger!). Good news- protein is found in a variety of plant-based sources, too. This Men’s Health link lists several vegetarian sources of protein.
- Protein helps you preserve lean muscle mass. No, eating protein alone will NOT make you “bulk up,” but it WILL help you preserve the lean muscle mass that you work so hard for in the gym!
Quest Nutrition Product Review
Now that we know we need protein, let’s get to the good stuff! I want to introduce you to Quest Nutrition. Quest sent me this package to review (but all opinions are 100% my own) – it includes a sample pack of 12 flavors of Quest Bars, 2 of the new White Chocolate Raspberry bars, 2 Quest Cravings, and 2 Quest pastas.
Quest Bars: These bars are high in protein, very low in sugar, and they taste great! I started buying them for my teamroom at work, and one of my colleagues says that he and his wife now go through 2 boxes per week at home!
- Each bar has about 20g of protein, coming from whey protein isolate. In a perfect world, I’d get all of my nutrition from whole, unprocessed foods, but most of us live very busy lives (and spend many hours a day in an office without a kitchen!), so that’s not always possible. Quest Bars are an easy way to get protein on the go.
- Quest Bars are high in fiber, which keeps you full and has many health benefits
- Quest Bars are low in sugar – most have around 1 gram!
- I prefer bars in the “Natural Line,” which are sweetened with Lo Han Guo, stevia, and erythritol, which are all naturally occurring ingredients. The bars in the “Original Line” also contain sucralose. Like I talked about in my post on artificial sweeteners, I try to avoid most non-naturally-occurring sweeteners (which is why I prefer the “Natural Line,”).
- Speaking of great taste – these bars are delicious! I have run into a few people who did not enjoy the taste of Quest Bars, but I personally love them. They have a great texture and density that really feels like you’re eating something substantial, and are great to fight that afternoon snacking urge. My favorite flavors for snacks are Cinnamon Roll and Coconut Cashew, and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough heated up in the microwave or oven is a pretty amazing dessert!
- I have run into several people who experience digestive issues (like bloating) when eating too many Quest bars), likely due to the artificial sweeteners. If they cause this issue for you, please stay away! Your body is sending you a message!
Quest Pasta: I had not tried the Quest pasta before, and was excited to do so (you know I love my pasta substitutes from my “Ridiculously Healthy Spaghetti and Meatballs” recipe). Quest pasta is made of 100% soluble fiber (coming from Konjac root), and has just 20-40 calories per bag (which is 2 servings). Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, here’s my honest opinion – I liked the Quest pasta because it took on the flavor of whatever I included in the dish, and was super easy to make (just be sure to rinse it first because the initial smell is pretty off-putting!). It’s a low-calorie way to boost the volume of your meal and enjoy a comforting pasta dish, even if you’re trying to limit carbs or calories. However, it doesn’t really have any taste by itself, so if you’re looking for the strict taste and texture of plain pasta alone, I wouldn’t recommend it. I enjoyed 2 meals using the Quest pasta, which I would definitely eat again: my Thursday night tradition of an Ugly Secret with added Quest spaghetti, and a cod filet with roasted artichokes, cauliflower, and broccoli over Quest spinach fettucine with an olive oil, lemon, and herb sauce.
Quest Cravings: The last part of my gift package was Quest Cravings … peanut butter cups with 20g protein and no sugar added! They’re made from very similar ingredients as the Quest Bars, so nutritionally, they are definitely something I could get behind as a swap for sugary “regular” peanut butter cups. Sadly, I just didn’t enjoy the taste – while the Quest Bars are SO delicious, the Cravings tasted artificial to me. I really wanted to like them, but I won’t be buying them for myself in the future. (Side note: my mom was so nice to be at my house 30 minutes after I got the delivery confirmation on this package, since I was worried the products would melt and I was out of town. The bars and the pasta stayed perfectly intact, but these got pretty melty – I think mailing anything chocolate-based in the Texas summer is a recipe for disaster!) Edited to add: I gave the other package to my Dad today, and he liked them a lot!!
Quest Giveaway (GIVEAWAY IS OVER)
Now I want to give 2 of YOU the chance to try Quest Nutrition for yourself! Two winners will each receive a sample pack of 12 Quest Bars, 2 White Chocolate Raspberry bars, and 2 packages of Quest Cravings. This giveaway starts now and will end Friday 9/20/13 at 11:59pm CT. To enter, you must like or follow Quest on one or more of their social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest), and you have several more opportunities to win – just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter plug-in below! As always, let me know if you have trouble with this. Edited to add: giveaway is worldwide, so international readers can enter away! You must use the Rafflecopter plugin to enter!
So tell me in the comments … What’s your favorite way to get in protein?
my favorite way to get protein is eggs. Used to hate ’em— now I can’t get enough of them! Oh, but quest bars are def a strong second!!
I go in phases with eggs, too, Elizabeth – loved them as a child, then stopped eating them for a while, and love them again now!
I eat 4 eggs a wk.I also eat chicken. Thank you 🙂
Thank you, Sue!
My favorite way to get in protein is through various protein bars! Awesome for on-the-go.
My fave way to get in protein is probably protein bars, but I don’t always have enough money to keep a good stock of them! I’ve made my own before too, but I don’t always have time for that.
I hear you, Cat! Protein bars can get expensive, so hopefully this giveaway helps 2 people build up their stock! Making your own is a great solution.
We go for vegetarian sources of protein here. Greek yogurt, peanut butter, eggs, soy, etc.
Yum, yum, yum! All sounds good to me!
Peanut butter or cottage cheese are my favorite proteins. 🙂
Yum, I love peanut butter! And cottage cheese too, just a tiny bit less than peanut butter :).
Eat chicken, protein bars or a shake
Sounds like you have good options, Trudy!
I love love love protein and am constantly consuming all different kinda but I would say my favorite is protein shakes, Pb2 (or 3) banana, protein mix, Greek yogurt, spinach, & silk almond milk so good! I’ve always wanted to try the quest bars, and I love pasta but always eat way more than I should I bet the quest pasta is awesome and I love treats, I can’t imagine how good the quest treats are! I would love to win this quest package so much!
There is a pb3? My mind is blown! I also enjoy a lot of the protein sources that you do!
I try to eat eggs for breakfast and snack on some nuts like almonds and walnuts during the day.
Those are great sources of protein and healthy fats, Janette!
I love big salads with nuts and some lean protein in the form of chicken. 🙂
I love big salads, too, Vanessa – I have one almost every day for lunch! But I definitely need some healthy fats and protein on my salad, or it won’t hold me over long enough.
My favorite way to get protein is naturally, from whole foods. But Quest bars ARE DELICIOUS and a fun way to get protein in.
I agree – Quest Bars are delicious! Good substitute for when whole foods just aren’t a reality. But good for you for continuing to try for whole foods!
I try to get my protein in through natural food (chicken, tuna, eggs, etc), but if I’m short on time, I love using protein powder. I always put them in my oatmeal for breakfast or dip my fruits (especially bananas) in them.
I’m the same way, Kathleen – I prefer natural food, but often rely on bars or protein powders. Do you dip bananas directly into protein powder? Sounds interesting!
sometimes I make a pudding mix with greek yogurt and water.. but sometimes I do dip my bananas directly into the powder when I need a quick snack or just craving chocolate taste.
Thanks for sharing!
I love Quest bars as well. My husband and I have been eating them for almost a year now as part of our daily protein. My favorite is the chocolate chip cookie dough bar. I never get tired of eating. Its like having a chocolate chip cookie for a snack every day!
I love that flavor, too, Sandra! Especially when it’s warmed up just a little bit! (Secret: if you’re in the office and need to warm up your Quest bar, just sit on it for a few minutes – with the wrapper still on, of course!)
Turkey or tuna fish, my husband takes protein shakes.
Great sources of protein, Danielle!
i love boiled eggs with a little salt they are sooooo yummy and packed with protein!
That’s such a great snack, Sarah! Unfortunately I don’t like the texture of hard-boiled egg yolks (unless I chop up the whole hard-boiled egg and add a bunch of ketchup and sriracha to it, haha!)
My aim is non animal protein,I eat alot of beans:)
That’s great, Missy! I love beans – chickpeas, black beans, edamame, and kidney beans are some of my favorites!
I love eggs, they’re my go to! 🙂
I love eggs, too!
We make some good soy burgers!
Wow, that sounds interesting – how do you make them, Hayley?
Just a mixture of cooked rice and soybeans, then add whatever spices and tomato/onion/breadcrumbs, and shape into burgers, then cook them in the oven at 375 for about half hour! I like them with ketchup and mustard! you can also do like barbaque or mayo, or anything really that you would put on a burger!
Quest bars are one of the best things on the market, great giveaway!
Glad you like Quest Bars, Logan – me too!
Great giveaway and great facts on protein- I love getting protein from meat but also from powders… I know its often frowned upon but they taste good!
I don’t “frown upon” it, Arman – sure, I would rather get my protein from whole foods, but it’s just not always possible! I think that if you choose protein powders without a ton of added ingredients, they’re a great choice!
I love nut butters in aid for better protein intake
I love nut butters, too, Jeremy – especially almond butter!
Either a protein shake or a protein bar! I love the variety!
coriwestphal at msn dot com
I like variety, too, Cori – good thing Quest has tons of flavors!
My fave way to get protein is through meat, fish or eggs.
Those are great sources, Wendy!
We eat lots of nuts!
I love nuts, too, Dana!
I usually have eggs for breakfast to get in some protein.
Great choice, Diana!
I like chicken. Though I must say, I get most of my protein through drinking milk.
Thanks for sharing, Becca. I don’t really enjoy drinking a glass of milk, but it’s a great source of protein if it agrees with you!
Plain greek yogurt!
That’s a great choice, Vicki! I have it most mornings for breakfast.
I like to eat nuts–but I’ve tried to slow down on that because I over eat. I’ve been doing string cheese instead.
Robyn, you’re the third person in the comments to say you tend to overeat nuts (and I do, too!) They’re just so delicious!
I’ve tried a few flavors of Quest and LOVE their bars. I am dying to try the peanut butter cups, though!
My favorite ways to get protein are cottage cheese/greek yogurt, protein “ice cream,” and dry-roasted edamame.
Wow, protein “ice cream” sounds great, Jordan … how do you do it? I also love Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and dry-roasted edamame. Hope you try and enjoy the Quest peanut butter cups!
Eggs are what I eat most for protein.
I like eggs, too, Chris!
My favorite way to get protein is to eat almonds but I have to be careful, I could eat too many!!
I’m just like you, Katherine – almonds are a really healthy source of fat and protein, but if I’m not careful I can eat many, many servings at once!
My favorite way to get protein is hard boiled eggs and I like omelets too.
I love eggs, too, Nicole!
homemade trail mix with whole grains and nuts
YUM, Sharon … I love trail mix! I can’t keep too much of it around because I’ll eat the whole bag before I know it!
My favorite way to get protein is by eating salmon a couple times a week.
I adore salmon, Pam, but I so rarely cook it at home! How do you prepare it?
Grilling it is my favorite wy to prepare salmon, but I usually bake it in the oven. I enjoy it with just some salt, pepper, and parsley sprinkled over it, but I also use a honey mustard sauce and teriyaki sauce.
Awesome, thanks for sharing Pam!
My favorite source of protein is chicken.
Chicken is a great source of lean protein, Lucy! How do you prepare it?
my favorite protein is cottage cheese
Thanks for sharing, Deanna! I like cottage cheese, too, although I never really think to grab it!
My favorite way to get protein is usually from lean meats, tofu, eggs, beans, etc, but I also LOVE bars!
Sounds like we’re on the same page, Brittany!
seafood is my favorite way to get protein!!
Yum! I love seafood, too! Scallops and lobster are my favorite, but I like everything except mussels and oysters (just can’t do it!)
To be honest, I eat a lot of eggs and lean meats.
Way to go, Mya!
My favorite proteins are usually protein powder, chicken, eggs, or plant based proteins. 🙂
Sounds like we have similar tastes, Amanda!
My favourite way to get in protein is through natural food, such as meat and nuts. I believe that they keep you full and takes longer to eat than any other supplement, therefore you are in tune with your fullness level.
Thanks for hosting this giveaway!
I agree with you, Deirdre. In an ideal world, I’d get all of my nutrients from natural food. But sometimes that’s not always possible for me!
If I need protein fast I usually make a protein shake.
Great idea, Vera – I love protein shakes/ smoothies, too!
My guess is this is limited to U.S. residents?!?! Ah well I’ve received a box from Quest already so I won’t be greedy 😉 Love the white chocolate raspberry and cookie dough flavours! Have to agree with you on the pb cups.
Plan to respond to your email tomorrow. The combination of being sick + yom kippur meant limited productivity gahhh. I’ll be in touch soon lady. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!
This is incredibly embarrassing (and “American”) of me … but I actually don’t know if Quest will send to Canada or abroad. Emailing as soon as I hit “reply” and I will let you know ASAP! Please do not stress about the email … you can take 2 months and I won’t mind! We’re busy people and I totally get it!
So, my contact from Quest is awesome and already responded … giveaway is worldwide so enter away!
You’re the best! Thanks for looking into it 😉 So I got a bit greedy and entered anyway! I’m a sucker for a quest bar. Have a great Monday!
Megan- thanks for your CONSTANT reminder that protein is so important. Sometimes I think I’m being so good to just have salad and you have to remind me to add chicken or salmon, or to have a few almonds with my half of apple.
It’s NOT an obvious or natural instinct for some of us. Thanks. Can’t wait to try the Quest bars !!!!!
You’re catching on quickly, Mom! I know it sometimes seems backwards to have to ADD things to your meals, but in the long run, you’re really better off if you do include protein and healthy fats like you mention!
I’ll be honest, I rarely use prepackaged snack bars like this. They just get too expensive. I’ve made exceptions in the past for Clif Bars, and it was just nuts how much I was spending on them each grocery trip. I use them only for backpacking trips now, and that’s generally once a summer.
Protein go-to for me has been Greek yogurt, Coho salmon, Simple Truth chicken breasts, and eggs. I do eat a lot of various bean types, but that’s more incidental in the food choices I’m making, rather than purposeful. I’ll admit to using a protein powder supplement on days I’m going to miss my targeted grams of protein. I’ve been using Designer Whey, 20g per 100 cal.
And…I’m still waiting for a particular food/wellness blogger (ahem) to discover that Super Squash! 😀
Robert, I think you’re better off avoiding pre-packaged snacks, anyway! With traveling for work, it’s really hard to bring “real food” all the time, and I think these bars are among the very best on the market, BUT I’d still prefer regular food (at least, nutrition-wise). Your protein sources sound great, and that Designer Whey is good stuff! I’m still working on the Super Squash … I’ll let you know :).
Didn’t even think about the fact that you travel so much. Truly an accomplishment to keep eating healthy on the road. Going to be putting this to the test (as well as running while traveling) when my wife and I take a short trip to New England to get away for a few days.
Yep, it’s an added challenge, but it’s definitely not impossible!!! I do my best, but there is still room for improvement. The getaway to New England sounds AWESOME! I was born in CT and went to college in MA, so I love New England :).
It’s a little bit of a recon trip too. IF I get into anesthesia school at TCU, when I graduate my wife has said I can choose where we live next. (She’s picked for us for the last 10 years now, so it’s my turn.)
New England (probably Portland area?) is on the short list, as is the Boulder/Denver area.
Excited to visit. I’ve been as far north as NYC, so I’m looking forward to visiting somewhere new.
There may be some leaf peeping going on as well…
My favorite way to get protein in is through protein shakes. I try to take them within 30 minutes after my runs!
That’s really good for recovery! You’re smart to try to get it in quickly!
Eggs are one of my favorite sources of protein.
Me too, Nancy!
Meg: Thank you for sharing the fact that Quest Bars are a favorite of yours. I have sampled many brands over the years and have never really been thrilled with the taste, consistency, or components of them. I will pick up some Quest Bars in my search for “the holy grail” and give you my thoughts.
I hope you like them, Gary! They’re chewy and dense, not like the crunchy Nature Valley ones I know you like, but I think you’ll enjoy them anyway! They can be a little hard to find, and I’ve only ordered them online or found them in small health food stores so far. But I think I know a special daughter-in-law who can hook you up if you can wait until Thanksgiving!