If you’re at all interested in eating better to go along with all those hours you swim, bike and run, then you have probably realized the importance of eating the right combination of fats, carbs and protein. It’s a delicate dance of factors from desired weight to expected race performance. If you’re not fueling the engine right, it doesn’t matter how many hours you train to overcome that.
But, how do you make sure you are getting what you need from your healthy snacks without sacrificing taste and appeal? Not everyone can kick back a can of tuna and a cup of cottage cheese and “enjoy” it. We’re all human. We like to enjoy taste and texture of what we eat.
There are all kinds of approaches from paleo to all natural grass fed no antibiotic hand combed cows and chickens, but lets get real. This day and age, if you want unaltered ingredients or something “simple”, you’re looking at higher prices and something that virtually financially unsustainable for a family. If it’s not mass produced and chalked full of preservatives for shelf life, it’s going to cost more.
In the never ending quest to find healthy snack alternatives, we found Quest Protein Chips. It’s kind of an oxymoron when you first come upon them. We found them at our gym and decided to buy a couple and give them a spin. We’ve heard of the bars they produce, and my wife loves them, but we were skeptical that a chip could be advertised as healthy.
Read on for our take on the Sour Cream and Cheddar and BBQ flavors.
Packaging / Shelf Appeal / Marketing
The packaging and images actually make you want to eat what’s inside. Not all health foods or those that pretend have the right marketing scheme. Some throw pictures of mascots and other junk not even related to the food inside that distract you from the real mission, finding quality food.
The picture on the package is pretty true to what the ships look like, unless your 4 year old sat on the bag in the car or punched it out of your hands when they were impatiently waiting to leave the gym waiting on you to pay for the chips. It happens. They still eat the same as whole chips or crushed pieces.
Form / Construction
Where the rubber meets the road. Are they full of crap? Do they have the advertised 21 grams of protein per serving and double the carbs? What are you getting for your $2.99 at the gym counter?
INGREDIENTS: Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate), Dried Potatoes, Corn Starch, High Oleic Sunflower Oil. Contains less than 2% of the following: Tomato Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Spices, Salt, Paprika Extract (Color), Yeast Extract, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavors. CONTAINS: Milk Derived Ingredients
The bags say right on the front : NO SOY, GLUTEN FREE, 5G CARBS, 21G PROTEIN, BAKED NEVER FRIED
Pretty much all you need to know is on the front of the bag, but for you macronutrient counters, they have in 32 grams per serving (1 bag), 120 calories, 2g of fat, 5g of carbs and 21g of protein. For a quick snack on the go for the fitness types, that’s a quality 120 calories. I know I’m always looking for meals and snacks that won’t blow the calorie budget that give me my best protein ratio. Compare that with a not-to-be-named baked BBQ chip, 28g serving, 120 calories, 3g of fat, 22g of carbs and 2g of protein. The fat looks good, but you’ve just broke the bank for carbs without much protein benefit. Get ready to skimp on dinner to save your day nutrition wise. Hello tuna on a plate…
Fit / Function
Do Quest Chips go down easy, or do you have to choke them down like so many chalky protein powders and drinks that are out there?
I’m here to tell you they taste as good as any chip out there. They have that baked / popped chip look and light density when you bite into one. They crunch and that sweet nectar of cheddar or BBQ that you crave will be there for the taking. Consider your craving for crap satisfied, but you didn’t have to sacrifice your soul for the nutritional deficit that comes with most chips.
Where’s the catch you ask? We get taste and nutrition!? Well, it’s not free. We paid for these out of pocket, no freebie reviews, and at $2.99 a bag at the gym, it can get pricey. Your generic chips can go around $4 for 6 to 7 servings. Quest chips are $3 for 1 serving. Eat wisely, my friend. You get what you pay for.
We will continue to buy Quest Chips. Santa may even drop a few in our stockings. If anyone could benefit from a healthier chip, it would be the big man from the north.
The taste and texture is spot on, the shelf appeal is there. It’s got all of the right ingredients, but you will pay a premium for 21 grams of protein, only 5 grams of carbs in 120 calories. You have to decide that if your chip craving can be satisfied for $3 a pop. Used wisely, this is a great alternative for a midday snack, or a companion to your meal. It holds you over for a tough workout without being too full, and serves well as a post-workout meal to replenish protein to rebuild muscle. That’s a big benefit in the winter months as most multi-sport athletes head to the gym for strength and conditioning.
Grab a bag and try for yourself, just don’t sit on them.
* Writer’s note – We purchased the chips for this review and Quest in no way influenced this review.