Strawberry Banana Granola Bars

A simple 6-ingredient recipe for skinny snack bars bursting with fresh fruit.
Hearty, filling, and only 105 calories each!

 

A simple recipe for skinny, clean-eating Strawberry Banana Granola Bars. So much better than the granola bars sold in stores!

 

Throughout my teenage years, Mom tossed packages of granola bars into her shopping cart every time she entered the grocery store. My brother and I basically inhaled them—the boxes practically disappeared overnight—and we sampled most of Safeway’s entire selection: Nature Valley, Fiber One, Clif Bars, Special K… We normally gravitated towards the softer varieties, which meant Mom maintained a constant stash of Nutri-Grain and Quaker Chewy Bars in the pantry.  

 

In the mornings, my high school scheduled a 10-minute snack break at the start of 3rd period, so I’d slip a Chewy Bar out of my backpack (normally Oatmeal Raisin or Chocolate Chunk) and slowly savor it while comparing geeky calculus stories with my friends about how we solved the integrals from the previous night’s homework. By the time I swallowed the last bite, Mr. D had already warmed up the overhead projector to start presenting that day’s notes.

 

A simple recipe for skinny, clean-eating Strawberry Banana Granola Bars. So much better than the granola bars sold in stores!

 

Then after school, I’d plop down onto the sofa, a Nutri-Grain Bar in hand, and flip open the family laptop. Instead of logging on to check email or chat online with friends, I clicked over to a jigsaw puzzle website and challenged myself to put one together in under 2 minutes. (They only offered the “Easy” 16-piece ones for free, and since they only cataloged about 30 images, I always clocked in at under 1:45 by the end of the semester!)

 

In between rounds of puzzles, I nibbled on my fruit-filled granola bar. Although a fairly standard size—not a monster like a Clif bar!—I still managed to take about 15-20 bites to finish it. Yes, a mouse would gnaw off bigger pieces than me!

 

A simple recipe for skinny, clean-eating Strawberry Banana Granola Bars. So much better than the granola bars sold in stores!

 

Over the weekend, while reminiscing about the good ol’ days before full-time jobs, checkbooks, and social media, a brilliant idea popped into my head. What if I combined my two childhood granola bar favorites into an even healthier snack?

 

So that’s exactly what I did!

 

A simple recipe for skinny, clean-eating Strawberry Banana Granola Bars. So much better than the granola bars sold in stores!

 

My simple Strawberry Banana Granola Bars contain the wholesome oats of Quaker Chewy Bars, the sweet fruit taste of Nutri-Grain Bars, but none of the preservatives or artificial ingredients. Bright banana flavor fills each soft snack, coupled with bursts of fresh strawberries—not sugary jam, like the commercial varieties. With only 6 healthy ingredients, these granola bars are a cinch to make. The hardest part is waiting for them to bake!

 

The base begins with old-fashioned oats. Although perfect for cookies, instant (quick-cook) oats absorb liquid a little too quickly for these granola bars. Old-fashioned oats soak up just enough moisture to soften while still maintaining their hearty texture. If following a gluten-free diet, you can easily substitute gluten-free oats instead.

 

A simple recipe for skinny, clean-eating Strawberry Banana Granola Bars. So much better than the granola bars sold in stores!

 

The wet ingredients include milk, mashed banana, honey, and coconut oil. The milk and mashed banana provide the moisture and “glue” that hold the granola bars together. The mashed banana also contributes most of the natural sweetness, so pick out the spottiest one you can find! I only mixed in an additional 1 tablespoon of honey for all 10 granola bars, but you could omit it if your banana’s peel looks solid brown.

 

Note: For a vegan version, swap in your favorite non-dairy milk and agave. They won’t affect the flavor or texture.

 

Granola bars made purely from milk and fruit would turn out gummy, but the tiny bit of fat from the coconut oil prevents that unappetizing consistency. Just like in these oatmeal cookies, you cannot taste it at all—I promise! But if you don’t own any, canola or vegetable oil would work too.

 

A simple recipe for skinny, clean-eating Strawberry Banana Granola Bars. So much better than the granola bars sold in stores!

 

I opted for frozen unsweetened strawberries for these skinny granola bars, which means you can make them all year round! Let the berries thaw for a few minutes: just enough so can easily slice through them with a knife, but not so long that they turn slimy as the ice crystals melt. You want to dice the strawberries fairly small; larger chunks would rip apart the oats as you cut through them to form the bars.

 

These low fat granola bars only bake for 15-19 minutes, so keep a close eye on them! I recommend the lower end of the time frame to ensure they stay soft and chewy. After cooling the bars to room temperature, place the pan in the fridge to help them firm up. Chilling also really makes the fruit flavors pop!

 

A simple recipe for skinny, clean-eating Strawberry Banana Granola Bars. So much better than the granola bars sold in stores!

 

Hearty and wholesome, these chewy Strawberry Banana Granola Bars are bursting with fresh fruity flavor. Sweet banana saturates every oaty bite, punctuated by juicy red strawberries. With only 105 calories and under 5 grams of sugar, these snacks are a filling clean-eating treat that you can feel good about enjoying!

 

A simple recipe for skinny, clean-eating Strawberry Banana Granola Bars. So much better than the granola bars sold in stores!

 

Strawberry Banana Granola Bars

Yield: 10 granola bars

Serving Size: 1 granola bar

Strawberry Banana Granola Bars

These fruit-filled bars are perfect for breakfast, snacks, or a light sweet treat! Store them in the refrigerator to maintain a firm texture and prevent them from browning.

1 tsp coconut oil, melted
½ c mashed banana (about one 8” banana)
½ c skim milk
1 tbsp honey
2 ½ c old-fashioned oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
1 c frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed slightly and diced

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F, and lightly coat an 8”-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut oil, mashed banana, milk, and honey. Stir in the oats until thoroughly coated. Gently fold in the diced strawberries. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake at 300°F for 15-19 minutes. Cool completely to room temperature in the pan before slicing into bars. Cover the bars with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Note: For a vegan version, substitute your favorite non-dairy milk and agave.

© Amys Healthy Baking. Recipe and all images protected. Please obtain my written permission before using images. If republishing this recipe, please rewrite it in your own words or link back to this post.
http://foodsforthesoul.net/blog/2014/01/20/strawberry-banana-granola-bars/

View Nutrition Information

 

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Comments

  1. Laura@baking in pyjamas says on January 21, 2014 at 3:37 am

    I LOVE granola bars, their like granola in bar form and I love love love granola. Love your healthier version!

    • Amy says on January 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks Laura! I love granola too; I’m so addicted that I actually can’t keep it in the house anymore. I refuse to eat anything else until I finish it off! ;)

  2. Hari Chandana says on January 21, 2014 at 4:26 am

    These look so pretty.. loved the first click a lot :)

    • Amy says on January 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Thank you Hari; you’re so sweet! :)

  3. Andrea says on January 22, 2014 at 10:40 am

    These are so happy looking! The specks of strawberry feel spring-like and carefree. :) PS- I’m loving your recent additions of “clean eating” recipes with very little sugar added!

    • Amy says on January 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks Andrea! That’s exactly what I was thinking while shooting them; we must be best friends or something. ;) I’m loving these “clean” recipes too! I usually feel healthier after eating them, and it seems like people on Pinterest feel the same way too. Yippee!

  4. Mel G @ Crafty Cupcakes says on January 22, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    I love homemade granola bars. I’ve never made anything fruity before though. I may have to give these a try. :)

    • Amy says on January 22, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      I’d love to hear what you think if you try them! I usually bake granola instead of granola bars, so it was fun for me to change it up. What mix-ins do you usually add to your granola bars?

      • Mel G @ Crafty Cupcakes says on January 23, 2014 at 4:35 am

        My favorite granola bars to make are ‘smores. :) And I definitely will let you know if I try them! :)

        • Amy says on January 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm

          Oh goodness, I loved “splurging” on that flavor of Chewy bars too. Maybe that flavor will come next!

  5. Elizabeth says on January 30, 2014 at 6:38 am

    This recipe looks great! I’ve been looking for a “chewy” make-it-yourself granola bar recipe for a while, and this one looks super delicious and flavorful. I can’t wait to try it out- thanks!

    • Amy says on January 30, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth! I’m all about chewy granola bars; I absolutely adore their texture. It’s kind of disappointing when you eat the crunchy ones and half of the oats fall to the bottom of the wrapper! I hope you enjoy them, and I’d love to hear what you think! :)

  6. Heather says on February 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Can you use Almond milk instead of Skim milk?

    • Amy says on February 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Of course! You can use whatever milk you’d like. :)

  7. Paige says on March 24, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I tried these and was very excited because yours look amazing!! Mine did not turn out as well and I am not sure what I did wrong. My were really mushy and not chewy. I guess I was looking for more like what you find in the store but healthier. Do you have any suggestions of what I might have done wrong to have them not turn out right?

    • Amy says on March 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      I’m sorry they didn’t turn out the way you expected Paige; that must have been disappointing. If they were mushy, try cutting back on the milk to just 1/3 cup, and chill them in the pan for at least 45-60 minutes after they cool to room temperature before slicing into bars. The chilling step really helps hold them together. I hope your next batch turns out perfectly!

      • Karen says on April 5, 2014 at 6:20 am

        I am making these right now. at 17 minutes baking time – in my toaster oven which has a baking option –they don’t look like they’ve been cooked at all! I would love to see a picture of what these look like when they come out of your oven, before you place them in the refrigerator. I’m afraid if I don’t see something firmer or browning that it’s not ready to go in the fridge!

        • Amy says on April 5, 2014 at 4:38 pm

          Karen, I normally pull mine out around the time that the edges start to look firm — not crispy, but firm. Does that make sense? The bars won’t completely firm up before you put them in the fridge, and even then, they’re a tad bit flimsy. To help combat that, I like to wrap them individually in plastic wrap; it really helps reinforce them. Next time, you can also decrease the milk to 1/3 cup or so, if this batch is still too chewy for your liking. I hope that helps! :)

  8. Morgan says on March 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Is unsweetened almond milk good for a substitute?

    • Amy says on March 29, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Yes! That would work perfectly. :)

  9. Tessa says on March 31, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I’m looking forward to making them!! Just a quick question though. I’m going to try the recipe unaltered, but wondered if I could substitute anything else for the banana, dates maybe? I’m not a huge fan of banana “in” stuff. I really like bananas, just not mixed into anything.

    • Amy says on March 31, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Of course! I actually created another recipe that’s almost exactly the same, using applesauce instead of the mashed banana (it’s here). You might like those granola bars slightly better! If you do try these bars with the banana, I’ve found it really helps if you chill them before slicing to help them stick together better. I hope you enjoy them Tessa!

  10. Sherie says on April 16, 2014 at 6:35 am

    these look amazing! I’m always trying to find something that is healthier. Would frozen blueberries work instead of strawberries? I have a huge bag of them in the freezer and want to use them up. I’m sure they would work right? I just didn’t know if i needed a different amount then what the strawberries call for. these blueberries are tiny ones but yummy!

    • Amy says on April 16, 2014 at 10:58 am

      Yes, frozen blueberries would work perfectly! I love the tiny wild blueberries; I have 2 bags in my freezer right now. :) Use the same amount, and you should be fine! Just remember to chill the pan after baking and before slicing them into bars. That really helps them firm up and stick together better. I hope you enjoy them Sherie!

  11. Sherie says on April 16, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks! I can’t wait to make them. I’ll report back in and let you know how I like them.

    • Amy says on April 16, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Wonderful; I’m excited to hear how they turn out!

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