Healthier Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Snack Bars
You’ll never know these moist and delicious banana bread chocolate chip oat snack bars are actually healthy (and low in sugar and fat!).
Low in sugar (natural and artificial) and without any added oil or fat, these tasty banana bread bars really do fit the bill for a nutritious snack.
Of course the chocolate chips aren’t completely guilt-free and could be considered optional, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you where I stand on the “should I add them or not” issue. Come on, live a little.
The bars are simple enough that my boys have been whipping them up to devour after school when their lazy mom has neglected to do the task for them and they run in the house famished. Which is pretty much the story of my life and theirs.
Tip: these banana bread bars taste amazing warm right out of the oven with a tall glass of cold milk and are equally as delectable the next day.
Another Tip: just because four little boys work together in the kitchen to make an after school snack doesn’t mean they’ll be as eager to do the dishes.
We’ve been popping them in lunch boxes, snacking on them all hours of the day and even offering them as an after-dinner treat. Quite the versatile bar-treat-snack-thingies, I’d say.
Another selling point: they are egg-free, dairy-free (if you leave out the chocolate chips or buy dairy-free chocolate chips), and gluten-free adaptable (look for a gluten-free brand of oats). And mostly, they’re just really yummy.
One Year Ago: Light and Fluffy Yellow Cupcakes
Two Years Ago: Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Soup
Three Years Ago: Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread
Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Snack Bars
- 2 ¼ cups (225 g) rolled oats, finely ground in a blender or food processor (measure the oats before grinding)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 medium (about 339 g) bananas
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (57 g) unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup honey or agave nectar
- ⅓ cup (57 g) chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8X8- or 9X9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Add the bananas, vanilla, applesauce, and honey or agave nectar to the blender and process until smooth.
- Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips (if using). Bake for 14-18 minutes until set around the edges and just barely moist in the center.
Recipe Source: barely adapted from a recipe sent to me by a virtual friend, Heather (who I’ve never met but she sends me lots of great recipes like this Cream Cheese Banana Bread so I’m pretty sure we’d be BFF’s in real life), similar to a recipe at Ambitious Kitchen
96 Comments on “Healthier Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Snack Bars”
We love these and make them often! I add protein powder or pb2 sometimes to add protein. Today I realized (too late) that we didn’t take have applesauce so I am trying an egg. We’ll see but the batter seems fine! I also had an idea…you should make a pumpkin variation of these!
These are a new favorite! I always double them as they freeze so we’ll and I snack on them all week. I’ve cut the sugar in half with great success.
If I don’t have apple sauce should I use oil? Or eggs?
You can sub the applesauce with oil or melted butter.
I put a schmear of melted peanut butter on top and then sprinkled some KIND peanut butter granola on top and served these for breakfast with a cold glass of milk! Everyone gave them a thumbs up
These are tasty and healthy and a great way to use up overripe bananas. Thanks for the recipe!
Mel: these bars are AMAZING! They are the most heavenly post-yoga snack. I am enjoying this moment, still savouring a third piece, so much.
Such a lovely break to catch my breath. Much needed these days.
Somehow, I resisted the siren call of your cinnamon roll recipe you posted today, & made these instead! The 3 brown bananas on my countertop were begging to be used. 6 kids at the house today, & they all kept asking for seconds & thirds. It’s a winner! When I was preparing & baking them they almost reminded me of baking brownies. You bake them until just golden & firm around the edges. Perfection!
This reminds me of this recipe I’ve done ( https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/242132/saturday-morning-blueberry-pancakes/ ). This is a pancake recipe but I’ve discovered it bakes well.
For this recipe I wonder what peanut butter would taste like on it? (I know, not quite as healthy but yummers)
This is SO YUMMY!!
I just wanted to leave another comment saying how much we love these! I’ve passed the recipe on to so many people. (Which is actually why I’m here–copying the link!) I usually make them in a 9 by 13 pan keeping the measurements the same (they’re just thinner). When I make a batch, I measure out dry ingredients into two other gallon-size ziploc bags. Then we can make them extra quickly the next two times–dump the bag in the blender, add wet ingredients, and cook.
Good ideas! Thank you!
My whole family (including 2 picky toddlers) love and request this “cake” all the time!
I love this recipe! It is so easy and yummy! Thanks Mel!!
My 4 kids loved these, and they’re used to unhealthy baked goods that I usually make… trying to make changes to our eating habits, so I was glad to find a simple, healthy recipe I can make (without having to buy special ingredients) that my family likes and I feel good about serving them!
I was looking for something healthy to use up some overripe bananas, and I knew you’d come through. This was a spur of the moment thing, so I didn’t have chocolate chips. I folded in some walnuts instead. I forgot the vanilla (oops), and they were still delicious! We will be making these often.
Just a few comments on my comment, now that I’ve made this several times: 1. Yes, they’re even better with chocolate chips. I’m still keeping the walnuts in, though. 2. I’ve started making double batches. It works, in a 9×13 pan. I add about 2-4 minutes to the baking time. 3. I’m cutting back on the honey… I’m down to 1/4 cup of honey in the double batch, and I’m not missing it. 4. Minor recipe hack: I put all my dry ingredients in the food processor *before* processing the oats – I figure that handles “whisking” for me. 5. I love this website!!
Thanks for the update! 🙂
These turned out great! Thanks for your recipes.
These say: road trip! Just made them for a road trip and when I *tested* one out of the pan, I knew these were going to be the best part. (Other than entering the States where Chik-Fil-A can be found.)
Haha! I love it!
These might be the most delicious thing I’ve ever made. Yum!
I’ve made these a few times now and my picky 3-year old loves them, even without the chocolate chips! Thanks for the recipe!
I have made these a handful of times now. My almost five year old particularly enjoys them are they are a perfect snack for preschool. I especially like how they do not have flour or peanut butter as they are allergy friendly! Last time I doubled them exactly and put them in a 9×13. I think I only cooked them a few min longer. I didn’t have enough honey either so I did 1/2 honey and 1/2 brown sugar and they were great. Thanks so much!!
Wow, Mel! These are so, so good! I want to eat the whole pan!!
I made this recipe today. I only had 2 bananas and a tad more than 1/8 cup of honey, but I tried it anyway – they’re delicious. Cake-like texture, and not super sweet (which I like). The chocolate chips on top is a nice rich complement. I bet it’ll be even better warmed up tomorrow – I’ll put it in the toaster oven for a minute or two and have a nice comforting breakfast at work. Thank you for sharing.
How would you adapt the recipe/measurements/cook temp/cook time if you wanted to make these in a rectangular 9X13 pan rather than an 8X8? Thanks!
You can double the recipe – several people have commented in this section about their experience doubling for a 9X13-inch pan so it may be helpful to read through to see what they suggest. Good luck!
These were yummy made them for the kiddos and I one afternoon!
just wanted to let you know i turned these into lactation bars by adding flax seed and brewer’s yeast – much healthier than eating batches of cookies!!
My kids have lots of food allergies, and it’s nice that we can make this recipe as-is. I can’t believe you only posted this a month ago! We’ve made them so many times now. Thanks!
I’ve made these at least half a dozen times since you posted the recipe because my kids LOVE them! They are such a great after school snack because they are healthy and filling. Thank you for sharing this one!!!
I have made these numerous times the past two weeks and love them!! I am pregnant and constantly snacking and am grateful to find this recipe- these are the perfect healthy-ish snack treat!! My kids love them too- thanks for posting the great recipe!!
Yum, lady! I made these with the following adaptations, in case youre ever curious to experiment with this recipe more:
1 c oat flour
1 1/4 c quick oats
1/3 c rolled oats
Added 1 extra tsp vanilla and 4 Tbs coconut oil- Put these and all wet ingredients in a food processor plus 1/2 c coconut sugar instead of honey and blended till smooth. Poured wet into dry, mixed well and folded in about 1/3-1/2 c chocolate chips
It was yummy and like a rich dense cake!!
Yum! My family loved them! I made a double batch, but only had 5 bananas, so I added a little extra applesauce. I also used quick oats and did not blend them (I’m too lazy!) and it turned out great. I think next time I will mix the chocolate chips into the batter – just a little less messy. Thanks for another great recipe!
Just wanted to say, I made these yesterday and they were gone in a matter of exactly 5 minutes–no exaggeration. My 4 kids loved them after school. Sadly my husband never got to try them because he was not home during that 5 minute interval they were here 🙂 Will have to make them again today so they are done right when he gets home so he can try them. Thanks Mel!
These are just the most perfect snack bars. Only change was I mixed the chips in. So moist, great texture, not rubbery at all, like I would have imagined without the fat. They are amazing out of the oven, as you said. Can’t wait until they cool to try one that way. Yum!
Bananas and Nutella are the perfect pair, so I left off the chips and smeared some Nutella on the top of each bar before serving. Heaven!! I like them even better the next day (though I can’t taste the banana today).
Hi I was wondering how many calories are in this snack
I’m not sure but you can look at online nutritional calculators to figure out the calories.
Just made these and I love them! I was worried about the texture but they turned out great! I will be making these again for sure!
My daughter and I made these today for this week’s school lunches. They are delicious! We mixed the chocolate chips in the batter so they would be easier to eat at school.
I have bananas to use up and this looks great! Will make them today.
Thanks for this recipe! I was happy to find a recipe that wouldn’t need any substitutions for my egg and milk allergic kiddos. They both loved these (I like them, too). Definitely add the chocolate chips! I’ll probably mix them in next time, since ours kept falling off the top when we ate them (or I’ll try to press them into the batter more). I cooked them a little longer than stated because I like them a little more “done”. I’ll probably try replacing the banana with canned pumpkin next time!
Made these the first day you posted them and they are all gone! The kids and I love them!! I only had quick cooking oats and went ahead and used the original amount you called for. They turned out just fine. And, we used mini chocolate chips for maximum chocolate coverage. Fantastic, easy, and healthy. Perfection!
I’ve made these the past two mornings for my family. We love them!! Thank you.
I made these with my kids yesterday right after I saw the recipe, and they were so tasty! I love that they are a healthier treat. The chocolate chips made them extra delicious! Thanks Mel!
Why the chocolate chips on top, instead of mixed in the batter? Will it mess up the consistency if you mix them in?
I mixed up my chocolate chips with the batter at the very end and it was great. Just don’t put too much in, and let it cool completely.
No, probably not. I just like to sprinkle them on top.
These were great- I have to admit I kept checking to make sure I wasn’t leaving something out…flour?Eggs? 🙂 We just sprinkled some mini chocolate chips and they were delish and for sure we’ll make again.
Yum! I love that your boys are old enough now to cook simple recipes!
I had the day off yesterday and made these just before my kids got home from school. They thought I was a rock star. I’ll take whatever I can get in that department, but in fact YOU are the rock star, Mel. Love you to pieces and am so grateful for this gold mine of inspiration and direction that is your blog. Thank you so very much!
You know it’s healthier, but I would still eat several of these. You hung on to the deliciousness. Of course I am a banana lover. AND it goes without saying since I am a woman that I lust after chocolate.
Yum! I need some healthy snack options for my kiddos! Does it matter if I use quick oats or not?
There’s a little information about quick oats right below the recipe title. 🙂
I make your banana oat snack bars all the time. My four boys LOVE them. Excited to try these.
From your picture it looks like you didn’t completely blend/grind up the oats. I still see bits of whole oats in there.I blended mine up till it looked like flour. Do you not blend them up all the way? I’m wondering if it affects the texture.
I’ve done it both ways and they turn out either time. The ones in the picture were made by my boys and they were in a rush so they didn’t blend them fully.
Made these yesterday for an after school snack and they are soooo good. I doubled it cause my kids devoured half already..in one sitting..and wanted more before bed because they were starving.
Love things the kid can make on there own! You wouldn’t by an chance have list or section with recipes like that?
I don’t have a list really compiled anywhere, Melissa, since kids are all over the place with what they can do in the kitchen but it would be a good idea to write down the ones my kids make over and over. I’ll try to do that!
This looks super delicious <3
im a huge fan.your crisp oatmeal cookie recipe is my 4 yr old daughter super favorite snack. I want to try this recipe but what can i substitute with the applesauce.
You could use butter or oil (coconut, canola, etc).
I wasn’t sure about the texture, but it didn’t stop my boys (1,3,5) from cleaning out the pan right quick. Mine were more of a cakey texture. Is that they are like for you? It looked different than your picture. Still yummy! Like others have asked can you double the recipie and freeze them? Thanks for healthy snacks/treats my boys never stop eating!
Yep, you can double and freeze. The texture is kind of cakey, a little dense, really soft.
Just made them and cut into 12 long bars to look like granola bars. I used cinnamon chips since I had an open bag and they turned out so moist and delicious.
Perfect! My son just had an allergic reaction to his favorite kashi banana chocolate chip granola bars (allergist can’t figure out what he is allergic to so we were told to just avoid the bars) so I’ve been looking for something to replace them! How do these hold up in the freezer?
They freeze great.
Thank you for this recipe! My youngest is allergic to milk and eggs which makes making baked goods hard sometimes. I am excited to try this out.
This is perfect! I was just getting ready to go on a search for some healthy bars (that are really not cookies in disguise.) Looking at the ingredient list, these are perfect. I’ve got everything and chips will not be optional… 🙂
You always post just what I need! Have been looking for something nutritious as a snack or breakfast bar for my 4 year old and this is it! I just tried the first one and they are very tasty and fluffy. They don’t taste like cardboard like so many other recipes I have been trying!!!! THANK YOU MEL!!!
Do you think you could use frozen bananas for this? I always have some frozen that I throw in the freezer when they are going over-ripe to use for smoothies. If so I have all the ingredients & would love to try making these today!
Hope you donf mind if I jump in on this! I’ve made these a lot and you can use frozen
Of course! Thank you Heather…I will try!
Yes thaw them first:)
Definitely worth a try, Erika – frozen bananas have a slightly different texture when blended; it might be best to let them thaw (or let the blended mixture thaw) before using. But since I haven’t tried it, it very well may work just fine without any thawing.
This just might be my answer to my ever-present hunt for something quick (and portable!) for weekday breakfasts. Thanks!
Just pulled these out of the oven and they’re definitely Mom-approved! Yum! Can’t wait to share with the kids later!
First kid to try them is in love. In her words, “they’re even better than the real ones.” Meaning “real” granola bars. So…have you tried making these in bulk and storing and/or freezing.? I’m not an every day baker so wondering how I can make the goodness last in our house.
These freeze great, Kelly! I’ve made them, let them cool, then cut and stored them in a freezer ziploc bag to pull out when we want to eat them. They defrost quite quickly on the counter or even faster with a short 30 second spurt in the microwave
I wish you only knew how much I love your blog and recipes. Since my husband is a full time student ( he is the real cook… Seriously amazing) and I am now home with our seventh month old trying to cook you have saved me on so many occasions! Everything turns out and is delicious and I tell all my friends about you and your blog like you and I are the best pals ever! I am so excited to make these. Thank you Mel!!
I don’t care if they are healthy or not. They look yummy!!!
Looks good! It reminds me of something similar I make, just mine doesn’t grind the oats, and it includes peanut butter. They’re very quick to make! http://michellesnewrecipes.blogspot.com/2012/05/peanut-butter-banana-oatmeal-squares.html
Yum! Was looking for an after school snack for today. These look perfect. Thank you Mel!
I rarely comment, but I am a huge fan. 😉 Would you ask your boys on their next batch to weigh the oats after they are blended? Oats are hard to find here, sometimes I can only find ground oats, which I think would work here. Thank you!
Hey Jenna! I weighed it for you while I was making them and it’s 217 grams or 7.65 ounces of oats!
Becky – you win the award for most helpful! Love you for doing this. Thank you!
Hi Mel. Thank you for all of your great recipes. I printed the recipe you posted today, and that led me to your Cream Cheese Banana Bread, which led me to your Buttermilk Banana Bread. Yum
What’s the texture like in these bars after baking? I’ve made something similar to this but in cookie form, but they had a weird rubbery texture to them after baking.
I know what you mean about that kind of strange texture. These definitely don’t have the texture of a rich, decadent cake/bar (since there’s no added oil or fat) but I would describe them as just a little dense and pleasantly soft.
I was going to make your white whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins for an after school snack (totally a fave around here), but I’ll try this instead! I feel like they could be breakfast, too!
Love that your kids can do these. Simple is sometimes the best and you can’t go wrong with chocolate and bananas!
Girl, you and I must be on the same wavelength. Posted something very similar yesterday. Mine used flour instead. I’d love to try these with the goodness of oats.
Can’t beat banana and chocolate. It’s just irresistible!