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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars

Banana Bars

There will always be times when we need to eat breakfast on the run, whether we’re late for school, work or a flight to somewhere tropical. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and, if you’re anything like me, you don’t want to have to skip it just because you were in a big rush to get out the door. The solution is to make up something that you can take on-the-go in advance, so you’re prepared when you know that an upcoming morning is likely to be hectic. Muffins are a good option, and so are these Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars.

These bars are inspired by banana bread and are packed with ripe bananas, chocolate chips and other flavorful ingredients. The recipe bakes a fairly large batch, so you can slice them up and individually wrap them to satisfy a hungry crowd (or just save some for later, since they also freeze well). Since they are for breakfast, these bars are on the healthy side of things. They include just a small amount of vegetable oil and a generous amount of mashed banana. They’re sweet enough to satisfy a sweet tooth and they have enough chocolate in them to make them feel like a treat without seeming like a nutritional bar but they are also full of whole grains and get an extra nutritional boost from some chia seeds that I included in the batter.

I would have loved to have had these for breakfast when I was a kid. They seem like a fun, indulgent thing to eat for breakfast (because of the chocolate chips) and they taste great. They also would have been very easy to grab for a breakfast on the go on days when I was late, not to mention that they could easily have fit inside my lunch bag for snacking later in the day. I may be long-since out of school, but at least I can still enjoy these bars for breakfast because the things that make them appealing to a kid still make them appealing to grown-ups – as long as you still like chocolate, bananas and don’t mind having a little something different for breakfast or a mid-morning snack.

The bars keep well when stored in an airtight container and are easy to pack up for single servings. For variety, you can substitute all or some of the chocolate chips for chopped walnuts or pecans. You can omit the chia seeds, or replace them with flax seeds, if you don’t have any on hand. And, if you really want to add more whole grains, you can even use whole wheat flour in this recipe, though I recommend using white whole wheat for the best finished texture.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup rolled oats, regular or quick cooking
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 10×15-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and mashed banana. Stir in the flour mixture, followed by the oats, chia seeds and chocolate chips.
Transfer batter into prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth it into an even layer.
Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bars comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Allow to cool completely, then slice into bars.

Makes 25 bars

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  • faye rivkin
    July 25, 2013

    I just turned these into gluten free bars, replacing the flour with 1/4 cup almond meal/flour and 1.25 cups of brown rice flour. They are so yummy!!! Even my husband, who isn’t GF, likes them. Perfect in the am before heading to the gym. Thanks!

  • Elizabeth
    July 8, 2014

    Just made these today with a couple slight changes, they are delicious and the texture is wonderful! I used einkorn flour, subbed honey and maple syrup for the brown sugar, and used coconut oil in place of veg oil. Next time, I’ll add some coconut, walnuts, and flax. Thanks for posting a great, fast, easy recipe!

  • Ti
    July 22, 2014

    Pour the batter? Spread it with a spatula? My, I think we had slightly different results. I had, well, I could’ve made cookies out of it. I keep looking back at the recipe wondering where the milk is, because the only liquid is the oil and eggs.

    Now, it’s very tasty. But there’s no way my spatula was moving it anywhere.

    I made a few modifications (added cinnamon and a bit of peanut butter and probably way more vanilla, and subbed a little bit of the flour for spelt flour) but I can hardly imagine it changing the consistency that much. Maybe next time I’ll use some kind of honey or syrup instead of brown sugar.

    Anyway, the taste was good, I divided it up into muffin tins for lazy portability and one of them packs a hefty wallop when it comes to fillingness. Surprisingly. Dang.

    Next time I think I’ll add nuts and berries instead. I was itching to make a saskatoon version but I didn’t want to waste my saskatoons if I turned out to dislike the recipe. I think the base for it’ll be a great, easily modifiable breakfast staple. Excellent.

  • Corina
    May 27, 2018

    Thought I should finally comment on this recipe. I’ve been making it for years, exact,y as written except I add 1 tsp of cinnamon. My family loves it. My only complaint is it doesn’t go far enough as it used to last for days. Now with a 10 year old hockey player and a 12 year old dancer this is ravished within a day nothing left for day 2. Gonna have to start doubling this recipe!!

  • Corina
    April 19, 2020

    Still making this recipe after all many years. I reviewed it last in 2018. Trying to add more protein to my sons diet, I added an extra egg, and an extra 1/3 cup of oats. It didn’t change the outcome at all. Just read my 2018 review and somewhere along the way I forgot about the cinnamon!

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