Banana Oat Bars (Healthy Snacks for Kids) – Gluten Free


Well folks, it is time for me to face reality and accept the fact that I have a picky eater on my hands. Kiddo number three appears to have an exceptionally delicate palate and disdains all but a handful of food items. I believe this is what they call karma, or payback for all the years of grief I gave my own mother when I was a pint-sized picky eater. I’ve actually been wondering when this was going to happen, as my older two have robust appetites and enjoy a wide variety of foods. This little one, however, makes her distaste for things very clear, either by picking it up daintily and dropping it on the floor, or pushing any mouthfuls out with her tongue. It’s frustrating, to say the least. I suppose I simply have to wait it out and hope she outgrows it, as I did.

In the meantime, I have to be creative in trying to find foods she will accept. I was feeding her some oatmeal and mashed banana the other day and wishing I could make it in a more solid form so that she could feed it to herself. I believe that the guardian angels of parents-with-picky-eaters must have heard my lament, as that very afternoon I happened upon this recipe I’d saved long ago on Foodgawker and promptly forgotten about. At first blush, it looks like a delicious dessert, which is why, of course, it caught my eye in the first place. But a more detailed reading of the ingredients shows it to be a fairly healthy treat, and with a little tinkering, I knew it could be just what I was looking for.

The aforementioned tinkering entailed a few minor changes. I reduced the sugar because I knew that the bananas and the chocolate chips would make them sweet enough. I also omitted the nuts and replaced them with raisins and some shredded coconut for texture. I love nuts and think they would be an excellent addition to these bars. But as is the trend in many areas, my kids’ schools are nut-free and if these turned out as well as I hoped, I wanted to be able to pack these bars in their lunches. I also found that I had to bake them for much less time than the original recipe.

The Results: Success! These bars were a hit with all three kids and the first batch is already gone. On the first taste, my little one did what she does with all unfamiliar food…she spat it back out. But I persisted and gave her another taste and her eyes lit up. She’s been gobbling it for breakfast every day (and sometimes for dinner or snack too!). I had a little taste of them myself, and they are delicious. They are chewy and hold together well, but they are soft enough for a child with only a few teeth to mash with her gums. And the best part of all is how easy and quick they are to make. I will be making another batch today, and this time I am going to leave out the sugar entirely, as I think they will be just as tasty without it.

Banana Oat Barsadapted from Sweet and Savory Tooth

6 tbsp butter or coconut oil, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
3 medium bananas, mashed
2 cups old-fashioned oats (gluten free if necessary)
1/2 cup raisins (chopped smaller if you will be feeding this to babies)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8×8 baking pan.

With an electric mixer, cream butter or coconut oil and sugar, if using. Add egg and beat until well mixed. Add mashed banana and salt and stir until incorporated. Stir in oatmeal, raisins, shredded coconut and chocolate chips and stir until combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes or until firm and light golden brown. Let cool in pan and cut into squares.

Now how easy is that???

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  1. Velva says

    This is a delicious snack for kids, adults too! Love it!

    Don't sweat the ides of having a picky eater. If you and your family enjoy food, your little one will too.

  2. M @ Betty Crapper says

    My 14 month old is beyond picky. I understand your pain. She barely eats anything except bananas, cheese, and bread. I cry! I really do :)

    As soon as I get some coconut and raisins I'm going totry this.

  3. Green Girl @ A little bit of everything says

    I have a picky eater too :((( sometimes I think I won't see the light at the end of the tunnel, there are days she only eats milk, cheese and some fruit. she has 8 teeth by now, well 7 and half, and I give her chunks of fruit or cheese to nibble on when nothing makes her happy.
    I'll make your snacks hoping she'll enjoy them

  4. says

    great that she liked them! I was a very picky eater when I was a child so not looking forward to having my own picky eaters!

    Thankfully I grew out of it and can now eat anything :)

  5. marla {family fresh cooking} says

    These bars sound great. I know the nut allergy thing gets in the way when it comes to packing my kids lunches. We love nuts in everything! I too need to forgo them in my baked goods for the same reason ;(

  6. Sommer J says

    i have 2 picky eaters.they're all picky in their own ways, though. it can be very frustrating. these bars, though, would be a definite hit!!! KEEP them coming!!!!!

  7. Donna says

    These looks awesome and I love all things involving OATS and BARS :)
    Good luck with your little picky eater! I'll be interested in hearing your ways around it for when I have kids someday:)

  8. Susi says

    Carolyn, I don't have picky eaters (never had), but these bars would be a hit with them as well. I'm always looking for pretty healthy after school snacks and they fit the bill! Great recipe :o)

  9. Spicie Foodie says

    Wow, those bars looks amazing! I love all of the ingredients you use. So glad to hear your little one loved them. Your persistence and kitchen talent have paid off this time :)

  10. The Urban Baker says

    I too, am making granola bars today. however, mine are made with whole wheat flour. I love how you got around the gluten element. I am going to have to try this! they look yummy! don't ya just love coconut oil? x

  11. Healthy Mamma says

    I have a super picky eater too, oh well 1 out of 4 isn't bad. I too try to make super healthy snacks so he gets all his vitamins and protein. These look sooo good.

  12. Tessie of Germany says

    This is great I always feel stumped when it is my turn for snack days at my son's school because the snacks need to be healthy and not have excessive sugar and this seems so awesome! thanks a bunch

  13. BakingWithoutABox says

    I am a picky eater and my brother is even worse. But we would have both gone nuts for these bars. Great job!

  14. sheila @ Elements says

    These sound awesome! I just bookmarked the recipe to try it the next time my sweet tooth acts up. :) Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)

  15. Amanda says

    Sounds so yummy! You could use Coconut crystals instead of brown sugar, so much better for you!! Thanks for all your wonderful posts. Love that you use stevia or erithrtol!!

  16. Anonymous says

    I made these and they are fantastic! I was looking for a healthy peanut free granola bar type to add to my daughters lunches. Do you know if coconut is considered a nut, and what I could substitute if it is?

  17. lgpars says

    Is there some secret to selecting and copying a recipe on your blog? I cannot for the life of me select just a portion of your blog and copy it (like the recipe for instance). It really get irritating because there is no way to copy and save the recipe. Please HELP!!!!

  18. Carolyn says

    Hi Igpars. There shouldn't be any sort of trick to it. I can do it myself, just copying and pasting the parts I need. Can I help in anyway? Is there a recipe I can cut and paste for you into a word.doc?

  19. Anonymous says

    Hi, nice blog.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    I made these (without sugar) for my 2 year old. Unfortunately, he only wanted to eat the raisins! I wouldn't eat the bars myself because I'm a low carber.

    I crumbled one bar and mixed it with yogurt. My son spooned away and asked for seconds!

  20. Anonymous says

    super delicious!!! I used molasses and a bit of honey instead of sugar and my picky eater loved it! thanks!!

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