Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: Quest Protein Bar Peanut Butter & Jelly

Is there anything more classic than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? It’s a staple of every American kid’s diet (excepting ones with peanut allergies), as well as countless adults looking for a tasty snack to remind them of their younger days. But it can also be the bane of your existence, because peanut butter is a veritable calorie bomb that, when not used in moderation, can expand your waistline just as quickly as Ben & Jerry’s. And we all know peanut butter is almost impossible to use in moderation. ;)

But what if you could get the same experience in just 210 calories AND throw in 20g of protein and 17g of fiber? That’s what Quest aims to do with its Peanut Butter and Jelly protein bar.

If you read my review of the Peanut Butter Supreme bar, you’ll recognize this one because it looks pretty similar. It also feels similar, being less sticky than the others and also a lot firmer. Must be the peanut butter. ;) The only difference is, this one smells like jelly. Big time.

Hmm...tastes like jelly, too. I think it’s strawberry, which is good because I don’t like grape. At least, the packaging has a picture of strawberries. The truth is, I have no clue, but initially I was disappointed because when I make PB&J, I use minimal jelly. Actually, I usually just leave it out altogether because it gets in the way of the peanut butter.

But this bar is actually a good mix. There are some bites--like my first few--that taste purely like the jelly, some that are mostly peanut butter, and some that are an even mix (those are the best ones). It’s like they put an uneven jelly swirl throughout the bar, although it’s all the same color. The peanut butter bits are by far the most peanut buttery of any Quest bar so far.

As for texture, this one isn’t the softest. It’s firm, but not hard to chew; in fact that helps it not stick to your teeth! While I love the soft and gritty texture of the Cinnamon Roll & Friends, this works in its own way. It’s not the soft bread of a sandwich, but you really shouldn’t expect it to be.

Well, that was the first half of the bar, and as always, the nuke test is next. I stuck it in for 11 seconds (OK, my finger accidentally hit the button twice and how different is 11 from 10?). The result: I would HIGHLY recommend microwaving this one because it really brings out the peanut butter without totally muting the jelly. Maybe it was just the way my bar was swirled, but the flavor seems better distributed. The bar gets soft and cookie-like, which also makes the crunchy nuts stand out. Warmed up, this really does taste like a PB&J.

Taste: 9--a little too much jelly in places, but warmed up it will definitely remind you of the classic sandwich.
Texture: 8--I’d like it to be a little softer, to remind me of bread...but heating it up takes care of that.
Health: 10--fiber, protein, blah blah blah...even I’m getting tired of hearing myself repeat the virtues of Quest bars.
Eat Again? Yes, although I’d choose other flavors first.

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