I did some swift calculations and determined that in a given week, between school and home, my charges are eating a combined total of 40 snacks, give or take a few (like when mom forgets to pack her 2nd grader a snack that day – oops!). That’s some serious snacking. And one can only feed their children the same snacks without needing a little snack pick-me-up, if you know what I mean.
Enter these healthy banana oat snack bars. Sometimes homemade granola bars and the like are anything but healthy but these little bars are truly nutritious with a fine dose of whole wheat flour, rolled oats, minimal sugars, several bananas and other glorious ingredients (like chocolate chips…you could definitely leave these out but I figure a little dark chocolate never hurt anyone).
I made these fully expecting my kids to turn up their noses. As if they could sniff out the absolute healthiness of the bars. Shockingly they devoured the bars, asking for seconds, and I can’t blame them because for all their wholesome goodness, the banana oat bars are quite tasty. Jackson, my 7-year old summed it up when he said they tasted like a banana bread cookie! I baked mine on the very, very soft end; however, my sister-in-law, Kylie, who sent me the recipe, bakes hers the full 30 minutes until they are golden and probably slightly crisp.
Either way, they make for a delicious, nutritious snack, and I’m happy to supplement our stockpile of yogurt, applesauce, crackers and cheese (among other things) with a little snacking variety.
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal, like Rice Krispies
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup peanut or other nut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment or foil, leaving a slight overhang on each of the long edges. Lightly coat the pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, rice cereal, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, stirring well to combine. In a second large bowl, combine the banana, honey, yogurt, nut butter, and vanilla. Whisk together until the mixture is fairly uniform and smooth.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and stir until they come together. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Transfer to the prepared pan and flatten down lightly with a spatula or your hands. Bake for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. I baked mine for only 15-18 minutes because I wanted them soft like a cookie. If you want them firm and golden, continue baking until they are starting to brown on the top, more like 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the bars cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting into squares.