Healthy Banana Oat Snack Bars

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.

Healthy Banana Oat Snack Bars

Healthy Banana Oat Snack Bars

Yield: Makes 16-20 bars

Healthy Banana Oat Snack Bars

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/healthy-banana-oat-snack-bars/

Recipe Source: sent to me by my sister-in-law, Kylie, via Eating From the Ground Up

76 Responses to Healthy Banana Oat Snack Bars

  1. Kim in Md says:

    Oh, Mel-how do you always know what recipe I am searching for? ;-) My husband eats a granola bar every morning, and even though I buy the all-natural kind, I have been on the hunt for home-made granola bars and easy to grab-n-go breakfst treats. Although these aren’t technically granola bars, my husband loves every ingredient in this recipe and I know he will love them. I think they will freeze beautifully, too, don’t you?

  2. Kelly says:

    Any thoughts on how it would affect the bars to leave the nut butter out? They sound tasty enough without it, but will they stay together? We are nut free in our household.

  3. Judith - Texas says:

    On my way to the store to buy bananas; my husband will love these (so will I!!) as recipe has all his favorite eats – bananas, peanut butter and chocolate. Thank you and your SIL for sharing the recipe.

  4. I love this! No added sugars! Thanks for another great one, Mel :)

  5. Jodee says:

    These look fabulous! If I can be so bold as to comment on another comment :) to Kelly-I don’t know if sunflower seeds are allowed in your house but my son is allergic to peanuts and we give him Sunbutter. It’s very similar to peanut butter but it’s made from sunflower seeds and is completely peanut free. I think it would work great in this recipe for those who can’t have peanuts. Anyway, thought I would share in case it helps! Mel, I LOVE your blog and have tried many of your recipes and they are a part of my menu planning at LEAST once a week! I tell everyone I can to give your recipes a try! Thanks for all the great meals!

  6. brookeO says:

    I’m always making the same granola bars. These are so different from the ones I normally make, can’t wait to give them a try for next week’s lunches and snacks! Thanks for sharing.

  7. These look fantastic! I love how healthy the ingredients list is. And I always need more snack ideas :)

  8. Cara says:

    In the oven right now!

  9. Megan says:

    what can I replace the nut butter with? Regular butter? We have allergies at our house :( Too bad, because I loove some peanut butter!

  10. Kaylene says:

    How long will these stay fresh at room temp? THANK YOU!

  11. These look amazing! I’m always looking for a new granola bar to make. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I made something very similar to this the other week only with cinnamon chips rather than the dark chocolate. We loved them as well!

  13. Mel says:

    Kim – yes, I think these would freeze great, especially wrapped individually for a quick grab-and-go snack.

  14. Mel says:

    Kelly – good question. Could you substitute soy butter? I think they need that little bit of stickiness to keep shape but any experiment is worth a try.

  15. Mel says:

    Megan – see the above comment thread, but perhaps soy butter or SunButter?

  16. Kira says:

    We are making these today! Thank you for such a healthy snack. We are always looking for something new.

  17. These look so perfect and energizing for my school year ahead :D
    Thank you!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  18. Yum. Great combo of ingredients!

  19. I make homemade granola bars all the time! I have a few ‘go to’ recipes that I make and repeat but I am always looking for a new version to try. This looks like it will be the next one I make since I have a bunch of bananas I need to use up!

  20. Valerie says:

    I am so making these for our after school snack! Thanks for the great idea. We always need to add a little variety to the snack offerings.

  21. Mel says:

    Kaylene – I kept mine stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days and they tasted fine…maybe just a tiny, tiny bit stale on the 3rd day but it didn’t prevent us from eating them up.

  22. Cara says:

    They are delicious! Can’t wait for the girls to get home from school…so I will quit eating them…..

  23. Cara says:

    P.S. I used Sunbutter, and they were fantastic:)

  24. Kira says:

    They are as good as everyone is saying! Thanks Mel! We had to eat them for lunch-couldn’t wait until snack time. I did have to use Rice Chex (crushed up a bit) in place of the rice cereal, but it worked great. You really are the best. You help to keep my family healthy.

  25. These look fantastic! Great recipe!

  26. Alex says:

    Mel- This looks great. Now I know it says banana, but do you think I could substitute another fruit? I can’t eat bananas, but I love granola bars!

  27. Kelly says:

    Mel and Jodee – thanks for the comments re: Sunbutter or soy butter. The only substitute we seem to have in my area (smallish city in Nova Scotia) is this No Nuts golden pea butter which is quite nasty. I’ve seen lots of good comments about the Sunbutter though, so I might see if my mother-in-law in Ontario can find it up there and send some to us. Thanks again Jodee for the comment from someone who actually uses it.

  28. Mel says:

    Alex – good question. I haven’t tried it with anything other than bananas but you could try applesauce. I can’t guarantee the results but it’s probably worth a try!

  29. Rachel Moody says:

    guess who has two thumbs and will be making these as soon as she gets her hands on some rice krispie-ish cereal? :) yup! this girl!
    *thank goodness my kids didn’t eat those bananas and they’re getting too ripe now!*

  30. Keri says:

    I was wondering if you could subsitute the peanut butter for something else? My son is allergic to all nuts and this just sounds so good. Any possibilites?

  31. Karen says:

    Kelly – I just made these today with sunflower seed butter instead of the peanut butter. They turned out yummy! I used the Trader Joe’s brand.

  32. Mel says:

    Keri – if you read through the comment thread, you’ll see some others who have found peanut butter substitutions – sounds like SunButter and Soy Butter are good options. Good luck!

  33. Connie says:

    Kelly -are you near Halifax? I’m sure Superstore carries soybutter (or sunbutter). They definitely do in PEI and here in New Brunswick. It’d be in the natural/organic section. some Sobeys also carry it.

  34. Trina says:

    Hi Mel, I could use a little input. I made these tonight. I was super excited about the ingredients – big faves around here – although I can’t send to school with the peanut butter (nut free at school). Mine turned out different looking then yours and soft (even though I baked for 25 minutes). They have an “odd” texture – not really like a cookie – sort of “gummy by firm”. There is no evidence at all of Rice Krispies in there (are yours still evident when done?). Just trying to figure out if I need to tweak something. I used 3 bananas that were quite large so maybe mine had too much liquid (an actual measure for the bananas would be helpful – if that’s possible). Anyway, thanks for any direction you can provide – I find I can’t stop nibbling at them even though I’m sure they are not quite right texture wise. If I can get it right, I know my kids will love them – thanks!

  35. Dana B says:

    excellent! I’ve been looking for a healthy granola bar recipe! thx!!

  36. Vanessa says:

    I tried these today, delicious! It was a nice, light, healthy snack. Another great recipe!

  37. Laurie Hudson says:

    Sorry, I wanted to like these, but but both my husband and I thought they tasted like sawdust.

  38. Heather says:

    These are the best! Just made them tonight with my daughter. So moist and flavorful! What a wonderful healthy snack. I am so glad I tried them. Thank you! :)

  39. Mel says:

    Hi Trina! I’m sorry these didn’t work out quite how you wanted them to. I’ll measure the bananas next time I make them but excess banana may be why they didn’t quite look the same as mine. I could still taste the hint of texture in the rice krispies but they definitely soften up as the ingredients are mixed. I think some people are getting these confused or thinking they should be more similar to a granola bar and they really aren’t. They are like a simple, healthy fruit and oat bar in a way. Not as chewy and crisp as a granola bar – more like a soft, healthy snack. I wish I could send you one through the computer for a comparison! It may be that you made them exactly right…and it may just not be the texture you are after.

  40. Allyson says:

    I made these a few days ago, and they were a hit! In an effort to add a bit more nutrition, I added 2 Tbsp of flax seeds and a large handful of chopped walnuts, and they were delicious!! I baked them perfectly, but actually lost track of the time! (prob. between 20 and 25 min) Cut them when still half-warm. But I recommend letting your kids eat them when COOL so they don’t turn into a gooey-chocolate mess! :-)

  41. Shauntel says:

    This year, I’m on a mission to find healthy snacks that also taste delicious, which isn’t always easy! But this fit the bill precisely. I suppose the only problem is I CAN’T STOP EATING THEM. If I eat the entire pan in one day, does that still make them healthy? :)

    Thank you!

    P.S. If anyone cares, I used vanilla Greek yogurt (because it’s what I had, and I prefer the high protein in Greek yogurt). It worked great!

  42. Lyndsay says:

    LOVED these! A great healthy alternative to my sweet tooth. Unfortunately my son who hates “mushy bananas” wasn’t a fan. Do you think these would work w/ zuccini?

  43. Mel says:

    Lyndsay – I have no idea, to be honest. Zucchini has such a high water content that you’d have to really squeeze it dry but I think it’s worth a try!

  44. Jill says:

    Tried these today and LOVED them. Even my semi-picky kids thought they were delicious. I followed your recipe exactly with the exception of agave in place of honey. Next time I’ll add flax and chia seeds! Yum! Thanks so much!

  45. elizabeth says:

    These were a big hit with my kids. I did not have any rice cereal or chocolate chips, so I just used more oats, and craisins. This will definitely become a regular after school snack in our home. Thanks for the recipe!

  46. Rachel says:

    Made and kids LOVED! Used Sunbutter so that can send to peanut-free school and have frozen half for school lunches! Thanks Mel!

  47. kristin says:

    yum!!!! thank you for the recipe! i am always looking for healthy, unprocessed snacks for the kids. that being said, i could use a few healthy foods myself:)

  48. Kate says:

    Made these today and they’re amazing. Just the right amount of sweetness. Freezing and taking them with me for snacking on our trip to the Princess Half Marathon in Orlando this weekend.

  49. tonya says:

    Apparently I think the word “healthy” means “okay to eat the whole pan”. I made these this afternoon & can.not.quit.eating.them. Thanks for another great recipe – these are very good!!

  50. Nathalie says:

    I made these last night and they’re really good! One of the boys ate some while the other one didn’t so I’m not sure if it was a big hit with them or not yet…either way I really enjoyed them and brought some into work and my co-worker thought it was good, so another successful recipe! :)

  51. Amy M says:

    I’m loving this recipe! My 3 year old didn’t want to try them at first but after she did she liked them. Thanks for a healthy recipe! Sometime I might try pumpkin instead of banana and pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon…. I’ll let you know how it goes if I do :)

  52. Nathaly says:

    I really want to try this but my son is allergic to dairy. Is there anything I can substitute for the yogurt?

  53. Mel says:

    Nathaly – could you substitute a soy-based yogurt? Otherwise, just try leaving it out and see how it goes.

  54. Nathaly says:

    Nope, the only soy yogurt I’ve found still has the milk protein in it. I can make buttermilk with soymilk, but do you think that would make it too runny?

  55. Mel says:

    Nathaly – I think the buttermilk option might make it a bit too runny – how about trying 2 tablespoons buttermilk and increasing the peanut butter by 2 tablespoons (a total of 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)?

  56. Nathaly says:

    Thanks so much for responding. I’m going to give it a try. :)

  57. […] friend shared this recipe online this week, and I knew I needed to try it… These Banana Oat Snack Bars were easy to make and I had everything I needed already in our house (I *love* when that […]

  58. Katie says:

    Just made these! Soo good! I only had 2 banana so I added a couple spoonfuls if pumpkin purée. I also used almond milk with a tsp of apple cider vinegar for the yogurt since we were out. Delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  59. Melissa says:

    Just made these !! They are great! I love your blog! K
    eep it up!

  60. YUMMM!!! Thank you! We veganized these by subbing applesauce for the yogurt and they turned out amazing! :)

  61. […] Healthy Banana Oat Snack Bars from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestPrintDiggRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  62. Jen says:

    Mel-
    Husby is allergic to banana’s, substitute suggestion? Mashed strawberries? I’d love to try them!

  63. Mel says:

    Hi Jen, I don’t know a great sub for the bananas. Perhaps more applesauce? You’ll definitely have to experiment. Good luck!

  64. Brittany says:

    Just an idea…

    Could you replace the pb with Nutella, for those non pb lovers? I made these just as the recipe called and they are wonderful! Wrapped and froze them an take them to work for breakfast every day. Just looking to alter the recipe so my hubby can enjoy also! He hates pb! Crazy, I know….

  65. Mel says:

    Brittany – great idea on the Nutella. I personally believe Nutella makes everything better so I think it’s definitely worth a try!

  66. Sheila says:

    Just made these bars. They are cooling, and they smell so good. Can’t wait to try them.

  67. Melanie says:

    I made these replacing almond flour for the whole wheat – it was delicious! Thanks!

  68. Army of 7 says:

    I would describe these as oatmeal bars. 4 of my 5 kids really liked them. I’d serve them for breakfast flwith smoothies or yogurts. This is a great recipe, seemingly simple ingredients combine for a pretty yummy treat!

  69. Erin says:

    These are heavenly! One thing I think would make them even better is some little pieces of dried apples!
    Thank you so much!

  70. viktoriya says:

    Can I use sour cream instead of yogurt?

  71. viktoriya says:

    How do you store these?

  72. Anissa says:

    Unfortunately, none of my kids liked these. I thought they were tasty, but sadly the kids won’t touch them. :( This is a first for a recipe from your site.

  73. Natalie says:

    I make these all the time. I had one ripe banana today and really wanted to make them anyway. I upped the yogurt and when I discovered no rice crispies I Added a little chocolate protein powder and a cup of cocoa crispies (I gave in and let the kids get them at the store so I want to hurry and use them up. Since we already had chocolate I left out the chocolate chips. I asked my three year old to grab a pan and he grabbed muffin tins ( since I recently made your applesauce carrot muffins). Brilliant! I baked them in the muffin tins. They crisp up around the edges. Yummy! The three year old has already had three. Hoping he saves a couple for his older brothers. (I’ve got four boys too) Made 15.

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