Toddler friendly oatmeal bars made with wholegrain oats, grated veggies and mashed banana for sweetness. These baked oat bars are so easy to make and the recipe is really flexible! They’re a great healthy snack for young and old.
I’m not sure why I haven’t posted this recipe yet. It might just be the one thing that I make pretty much every week. That and a big batch of veggie loaded bolognese sauce!
The things those two recipes have in common is that they are so flexible and require little measuring (or concentration). It’s a bit of this, a bit of that, mix it together and off you go. That’s all I have time for when it comes to day-to-day cooking. I remember when I used to make my own kefir, sauerkraut and bread regularly….hmm…
Anyway. Put those thoughts aside for now, let me tell you how to make these great, kid-friendly bars.
Basically, I make these oatmeal bars on the regular because they are one of the healthy toddler snacks I like to have stashed away. They keep in the fridge well, they’re portable, they’re soft enough for little fingers and mouths. Plus, I can get some veggies in there alongside a whole heap of other healthy ingredients!
What you need
The key ingredients you need to make this recipe are:
- Oats – both rolled oats and quick oats (yes really, I think it works best with a mix of both)
- 2 overripe bananas
- An egg or an egg substitute (more on that below)
- Plain flour or almond meal
- Baking powder
- Grated carrot, grated zucchini or a mix of both
- A few spoonfuls of nut butter or some olive oil if you’re going nut free
Aaaaand you’re just going to pretty much mash all of that together into a very thick batter, press it into a square cake tin and you’re done.
Recipe swaps / allergy substitutions
My favourite way to make the oat bars is to use almond meal, egg and peanut butter in them. Now, this means you’ve got three potential allergens – egg, peanut and tree nuts! Not ideal for everyone, I know. So, I have listed some swaps here for you.
Egg free: this recipe only requires ONE egg. Yay! So I think it works okay with a substitute (sometimes recipes with a lot of eggs tend to fall apart). I recommend swapping your egg for a “flax egg” which is 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. Whisk those together and let it sit for around 10-15 minutes, whisking occasionally. It will form a gel. Otherwise you can try a “chia egg” (exactly the same but with chia seeds) or a store-bought egg replacer.
Peanut free: swap the peanut butter in the recipe for almond butter, tahini or another nut or seed paste.
Tree nut free: swap the almond meal for plain flour (either regular or gluten free). The measurement changes slightly. I use 1/2 cup almond meal but only 1/3 cup plain flour as it is more absorbent.
Peanut and tree nut free: swap peanut butter to olive oil, reduce from 3 tbsp to 2 tbsp. Swap almond meal to plain flour as directed above.
There’s also a tiny bit of milk in this recipe – 3 tablespoons. Honestly you can use whatever milk you like, so just choose a milk that meets any dietary / allergy requirements you have. You can use dairy milk, almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, pea milk…whatever suits you best.
Customise the recipe
I usually make these bars pretty simple as 90% of them go to my 2 year old toddlers! We stick to fruit and veggie. Banana and carrot, banana and zucchini or a mix of carrot/zucchini go in here.
You can add more fun stuff in though. The bars are really nice with some sultanas and a few tablespoons of maple syrup or honey added for a bit more of a sweet treat. I also like them with mini dark chocolate chips!
Tip when adding the zucchini: PLEASE squeeze excess water out of the zucchini using paper towel or a tea towel. Do this before you add the zucchini. It is so much more watery than carrot and otherwise your bars may be too soggy.
However you make these healthy oatmeal bars, I hope you like them! I hope your kids like them too, if that’s who they might be going to 🙂 And if you do make this recipe, let me know! Take a snap and tag me on Instagram @moniquecormacknutrition or leave me a comment below. Would love to hear if you make any swaps or substitutions and what’s worked for you.
- 1 cup quick oats
- 2/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup almond meal *see substitutions in notes
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon – optional
- 2 large overripe bananas
- 1 egg *see substitutions in notes
- 1 medium carrot or 1 small zucchini
- 1 tsp vanilla extract – optional
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 tbsp peanut butter *see substitutions in notes
- 3 tbsp milk – can be any milk e.g. cows, almond, rice, soy, coconut, pea, etc.
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line an 8 inch square cake tin with baking paper along base and sides.
- Grate the carrot or the zucchini (whatever you're using) and set aside. If using zucchini, squeeze out excess water with paper towel or a clean tea towel.
- Mash the bananas thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Add egg, vanilla, peanut butter and milk. Whisk it all together. Add in quick oats, rolled oats, almond meal, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and the grated carrot/zucchini. It will form a very thick batter, almost like a wet dough.
- Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes so the oats absorb some of the moisture and soften.
- Press the mixture evenly into the lined cake tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and firm to touch. Allow to cool before slicing into bars. Will keep in the fridge for around 5 days. The bars can be frozen but they tend to lose their shape a bit if you microwave them.
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