Healthy Banana Oat Power Bars

Have you ever made a “healthy” bread/bar/muffin recipe and after one bite said, “hmmm… this is good but it’d be much better with some almond butter.” Yeah… I’m pretty sure we’ve all done it. Am I right?

Nut butters do make everything better, but I’m going to start this by saying that this is not one of those recipes. These bars are delicious — no peanut/sunflower/almond butter necessary.

Healthy Banana Oat Power Bars

I made them for two reasons: 1.) I’m going glamping this weekend for a friend’s bachelorette party and wanted to bring a little snickety snack to share with the girls and 2.) Isaac will be on his own this weekend and sometimes he forgets to eat. <— I know, I don’t understand it either. That said, I thought it might be a good idea to leave him with a few bars to snack on while I’m away. Such a good wife.

Healthy Banana Oat Power Bars

I first learned about this amazing recipe at the Runner’s World Half & Festival. For one of the blogger lunches we ate a bunch of different things from The Runner’s World Cookbook and these Banana Oat Energy Bars were on the menu. They were one of my favorite things I ate that weekend! Once home I made a batch of the bars for my cousin right after she had her baby since she and her husband needed all the energy they could get.

Given that this was my second time making the bars, I decided to experiment a little by switching up some of the ingredients to make them a bit healthier. As you’ll see in my version of the recipe below, I used less oil, less sugar, less dried fruit and whole wheat pastry flour. I also cut the batch into 16 bars instead of 12. With these changes, they came out having about 125 calories, 7 grams of fat and 17 grams of carbs LESS than the original bars. Not too shabby.

Healthy Banana Oat Power Bars

Despite the changes, the bars turned out to be just as good as the original recipe. They have a nice hearty texture and thick (almost crunchy) edges, yet they’re still plenty sweet and moist. Speaking of the crunchy edges — they’re my favorite part about these bars. I’m almost tempted to buy a just the edges brownie pan so I can make them in it.

Like I mention, these bars are absolutely delicious on their own (no toppings necessary). And they’re great for snacking or fueling a workout because they’re portable and packed with healthy ingredients (unlike many store-bought energy bars). While I don’t have any children around to test out this theory, I’m almost certain that kids will gobble them right up. If you make them and share them with your kiddos, be sure to let me know if my hypothesis is right. 🙂

Banana Oat Power Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from the Runner's World Cookbook.
Recipe type: (vegan & dairy-free)
Serves: 16
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • ¼ cup unrefined coconut oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour (or ½ cup whole wheat flour + ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup raisins
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat an 8" x 8” square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the walnuts on an ungreased baking sheet or stone and toast in oven for 5 to 8 minutes, or until toasty and fragrant.
  3. While the walnuts are toasting, mash the bananas in a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining wet ingredients: oil, apple sauce, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: oats, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Add the banana (wet) mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the toasted walnuts and raisins, being careful not to overmix. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted comes out nearly clean. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bar Calories: 172 Fat: 8 Carbohydrates: 24 Sugar: 13 Fiber: 2 Protein: 3

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  1. These look awesome but my husband is allergic to nuts. What could be a good sub for the walnuts?? Thanks!!

  2. glamping!? hahahaha I’ve never heard of that before! But I’m with you on making healthy bars and then adding almond butter…totally do that all the time. These bars would be a nice change…and maybe I wouldn’t go through my nut butters as fast lol.

  3. This is like banana bread in bar form…aka amazing 😀

  4. LOVING these!

  5. Heavenly! Leftovers?

  6. These look AMAZING! I’m glad you mentioned unrefined coconut oil. I just started oil pulling and have been researching what a big difference having unrefined coconut oil makes. I am looking forward to making these!

  7. I think I ate about 4 of those bars during that lunch. 🙂

  8. I think my kiddos would for sure gobble these up and I know I would. I might try subbing mini chocolate chips for the raisins to make them EXTRA special. 😉

  9. Great recipe girl!:) I love power bars like these that are clean and healthy:) I love that you mentioned “glamping”:) My mom is going this week and she’s in love with it! Have a great weekend!

  10. Ohh those look delicious! Love things like this that I can pack to take with me to work!

  11. LOVE LOVE LOVE these! Look delicious

  12. These look so amazing.

  13. Definitely had that nut butter experience with home made power bars before! I’ll never forget my first experience with making them with protein powder added. Was like eating banana flavoured chalk. These look MUCH yummier! Think I will have to make a batch for this work week =o)

  14. These banana oat power bars look like such a delicious snack! How long do these typically stay good for?

  15. lol glamping? hadn’t heard that before… cute.

  16. These look SO GOOD.. i always want to put almond butter on anything so maybe I should give these a shot !! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. Hi! I made this recipe yesterday and they turned out fantastic and soo tasty! I substituted apple butter for apple sauce because I didn’t have any and along with the walnuts I added sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, and cranberries. I’m definitely making this again, thanks so much for the recipe!

  18. Lee told me to come by and I’m so happy I did! These look awesome. Also I totally feel ya on feeding the boys when you’re not around. Like it actually blows my mind when my bf tells me he forgot to eat lunch that day. I’m like whaaaat? I think I would die if I ever did that!

  19. Used the beautifully browned bananas that have been sitting on my counter to make these tonight! Love the combination of nutritious vegan ingredients you chose – coconut oil, oats, applesauce, and my new favorite find… coconut sugar! They came out thick and moist with a wonderful caramel-y flavor. I didn’t have any raisins so I put in a tablespoon of dark chocolate chunks and a few peanut butter chips, which I know the kiddos won’t mind 🙂 Perfect energy-packed snack for my daughter to take to her 6 hour gymnastic practices. Thank you!

  20. I made this with my 4 year old niece. We added coconut flakes, used almonds as well as walnuts, used wheat germ as well as flour (which she and I both like), and went heavy on the applesauce and banana. She (and I) absolutely loved it in the mixing bowl, and afterward when it had cooled from the oven!

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