I’ve heard a lot about Quest bars from american blogs and fitness sites and so, being the sucker for hype that I am, I was really excited to hear that they were available in the UK from Predator Nutrition. So, why was I so excited to try them?

Quest bars are gluten free, soya free and collagen free – soya and gluten being common proteins found in protein bars. Soya is a controversial topic but there’s a body of thought that it can have adverse hormonal effects, especially in relation to women and thyroid function. As for collagen…do you want to eat collagen? Quest bars are free of sugar alcohols and contain an average of 18g of dietary fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion. They’re also low in net carbs if US style net carb counting is your bag (it isn’t mine). In summary, they’re free of nasties and their nutritional profile is hot to trot.

Predator Nutrition kindly sent me a whole bunch of Quest Bars to try out – every single flavour they stock to be precise!

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I have been working my way through them like a trooper and, to make sure I don’t lose track of what’s what, have been taking notes on each flavour. I present to you, a comprehensive guide on quest bar flavours…

FAVOURITE FLAVOUR: Chocolate Cookie Dough

So yummy it can’t be good for you. YUM YUM YUM so much chocolate YUM

LEAST FAVOURITE FLAVOUR: Lemon Cream Pie*

PURE HORROR. Like you dropped your protein bar in cif. Yuck.
*I couldn’t finish this bar. I finish everything. That should give you an indication of the horror.

THE REST

Banana Nut Muffin
So banana-y. Texture is ok. Not much nut muffin going on. Tasty-ish. Nice squidgy bits.

Vanilla Almond Crunch
Yummy. Nice and vanilla-y. Almond is a nice change to peanut butter.

Peanut Butter and Jelly
Tasted quite a lot like peanut butter and jelly but also a lot like protein. Better once you get in to it.

Strawberry Cheesecake
Tastes like strawberries in a good way. Nice chewy strawberry bits.

Peanut Butter Supreme
Average. Whole peanuts are nice though.

Mixed Berry
“Meh” with a hint of berries.

Chocolate Peanut Butter
Actually really yummy. Chocolatey and satisfying. Second best yet.

Apple Pie
Yummy squidgy apple bits. Yum.

It’s come to my attention that Predator are now stocking a raspberry white chocolate flavour – I’ll let you know what it’s like when I get my hands on it! Big thank you to Predator for sending me these to review.

In case you were wondering, here are my quest bar notes.

In case you were wondering, here are my quest bar notes.

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I’ve heard a lot about UpRaw in fitness circles online for a while and finally got round to trying it this week courtesy of Lorna Jane UK. Good food is something really important to me and I am always hungry so I love finding healthy snacks to keep fuelled on throughout the day. These little balls of fun are packed with all natural, whole, nutritious ingredients, are gluten free and suitable for vegetarians. Winning! They’re also totally delicious, which is always a bonus.

Each serving has 13.5g of protein, 10.5g of carbs and 11.2 grams of good fats from walnuts and coconut. Good stats to keep you energised! You can find more detail about the ingredients and nutritional breakdown below and further details of their health properties on the UpRaw website. Definitely recommended!

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Here is a recipe for some yummy scrummy homemade protein bars I knocked up last week! They’re easy to make and full of natural goodness so get cooking.

Ingredients 

8 x scoops vanilla whey (around 30g per scoop I believe)
7 x scoops oats
Handful of dessicated coconut
2 x tbsp natural peanut butter
Milk of your choice

Method

In a large bowl (it’ll need to be large!) combine the protein powder, oats and coconut. How much coconut you use is totally up to you and your preferences for taste, fat content and calorie count. I personally put a load in.

Then add the peanut butter – I use Meridian which is much more liquid than most peanut butter. Mix it through the dry ingredients as best you can.

Then add the milk until you have a thick dough like mixture. I haven’t added an amount because how much you need will very much depend on your protein powder, choice of oats and consistency of your peanut butter. Add little by little and make sure you mix it thoroughly before adding any more!

You should end up with one big lump of mixture. Squash this down in to a cake tin or big glass bowl. At this point I got a very small amount of runny honey (half a teaspoon) and spread it very thinly on the top of the bars, and then pressed more dessicated coconut on the top. Optional but totally delicious!

Leave to set in the fridge for an hour or two, then cut in to bars of a size of your choice! I make squares and take one or two to work with me as an afternoon snack. Store these in the fridge to keep fresh and solid – they can be a little sticky!

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Let me know if you make them and how you get on! Obviously the basic mix (protein powder, oats and milk) can be used to make a million different flavours so be creative! I’m planning some cinnamon and raisin beauties for my next batch and I’ve heard that chocolate whey and peanut butter makes fudge-y dream bars from heaven.

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I tweeted about these breakfast treats of mine yesterday and had quite a few requests for the recipe, so here it is! These are really easy to make, super healthy and very very yummy. I usually eat them hot out the pan but recently have been making them in the evening to take to work for breakfast and they are delicious cold too. If I’m having them at home I layer them up with extra greek yoghurt and peanut butter and makes me feel all smiley and warm.

Weapons of choice:

1 banana
1 Tsp Peanut butter (I use Meridian)
1 Egg (use the white or the whole, up to you)
1 scoop Vanilla whey (I use MyProtein impact whey)
Oats (as many as you fancy)

Optional:

Greek yoghurt
Cinnamon

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Method:

All you need to do is mash all the ingredients together in one glorious goopy mess. I do this in a bowl with a fork but you can also just throw it all in a blender. If you use a blender you’ll get a smoother consistency but (a) I like the slightly chunkier nature of the mashed fork method (whole oats and peanut bits) and (b) I hate cleaning my blender.

I usually go in this order:

Banana
Peanut butter
Oats
Greek yoghurt (if using)
Egg (I use just the white but the whole is fine too)
Whey powder and cinnamon

I appreciate that my measurements are pretty vague (they’re always very “ish”) but if you’re not up for a bit of kitchen experimenting here’s a rough guide to the amounts I add…

Diptic

Peanut butter, oats, greek yoghurt and the finished mixture. Varying shades of sick.

I cook them in a little coconut oil and make little American style pancakes but they work well as big fat ones too! They cook through pretty quickly so be sure to keep an eye on them. As the pan gets hotter they’ll go very dark on the outside very quickly – don’t panic! They’re not burnt and they won’t taste burnt, they just go that colour…I have no idea why.

With extra cinnamon. Always.

With extra cinnamon. Always.

Variations:

I add greek yoghurt for extra protein and thick yummy creaminess but it’s not essential to the recipe so if you don’t have any they’ll be just fine without! Add as many oats as you fancy. I usually use a handful but feel free to mix it up according to your carb/fibre/calorie requirements. I also bloody love cinnamon and use loads but appreciate there are some freaks in the world who don’t like it, which is why I’ve listed it as optional (it’s not optional).

I sometimes add a couple of chopped up dates because they are so soft and sweet and coming across one is a bit like coming across a chocolate chip. I put chocolate chips in them once too though…amazing. If you’re using a blender be sure to add them to the mix after the blending.

I’ll be trying different flavours of whey at the weekend so I’ll post an update if I come across a winning combo. Would love to hear if you make them and what you think – let me know!

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Recently I have been eating a whole lot of yoghurt. Sooo much yoghurt. The lovely guys at Chobani kindly sent me not one but TWO boxes of their finest fat free greek strained yoghurt to try out. I’d heard a lot about Chobani from US bloggers and so was keen to see if it lived up to the transatlantic hype. One problem…

Special delivery!

Special delivery!

I hate fat free yoghurt. Sugary processed tripe is dished up in shiny little pots and sold as a ‘health food’, a ‘diet’ food or, worst of all, a ‘digestive aid’. Muller Light has, on average, around 15g of sugar per pot, as well as aspartame and gelatine. Activia 0% has two chemical sweeteners, acesulfame K and sucralose, as well as 11.4g of sugar. As you can imagine, doubling up with sugar AND sweetener means these yoghurts are super sweet and beautifully artificial tasting, all so they can cover up the weird “fat free” yoghurt they make (do you really need skimmed milk, skimmed milk concentrate AND skimmed milk powder to make yoghurt, ey, Activia?). They play havoc with your digestive system (your stomach doesn’t really know what to do with chemicals) and it makes my blood boil that they’re marketed to women on the basis that they will make you thin/give you a flat stomach/stop your IBS. They won’t. As pinterest says, “Fat free = chemical shit storm”.

So, yoghurt is a touchy subject. I am a devout disciple of Fage Total Greek and wondered whether Chobani was a challenger. It’s fat free because it’s strained greek yoghurt (like Total 0%), which means it’s just pasteurised skimmed milk put through a traditional straining process. So, no weird powder concentrate combos, which is excellent. Chobani plain is nothing else added and has 17g of protein per pot (compared to 6g in Activia) and 7g of sugar, all of which are naturally occurring dairy sugars (lactose) and not added sugars. Dreamy.

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There’s also a range of fruit yoghurts that have a layer of fruit at the bottom that come in dreamy flavours like strawberry, peach, passion fruit, black cherry, pomegranate, the brand new raspberry and my personal favourite blood orange. These are higher in sugar (fruit sugars and cane sugar) which makes them a slightly less healthy choice, but each pot has 14g of protein which is pretty damn good. I think the fruit pots are perfect post exercise, providing a hefty dose of protein and quick release carbs without any fat to slow down digestion and the refuelling process. I loaded mine up with fruit and granola to have as a post-spin breakfast and it was delicious.

Granola dreams

Granola dreams

So, turns out I am actually a bit of a fan. On a day to day basis I’d stick to the plain (because I prefer to keep extra sugar out of my diet) and I use it on EVERYTHING. On top of salads, as a dip with dinner, mixed in sauces, as a pudding mixed with protein powder…everything! Dreamy. I keep the fruity ones for treats/after exercise (which you know, is a lot of the time anyway) and whole heartedly adore the blood orange flavour. Raspberry is pretty ace too. Once when I was hungover I ate three in one day. YEAH BUDDY.

Big thank you to Chobani for so kindly sending me some scrummy yoghurt. It’s yummy and I am sad it’s all gone.

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