Made with rolled oats, SunButter, sunflower seeds and honey these healthy nut free granola bars are chewy, easy to make, kid-approved and school-safe! This post is sponsored by SunButter.
I’ve officially entered the lunch box packing phase of motherhood and Olivia’s school is nut-free so I’ve been brainstorming school-safe snack options. Cue these nut-free granola bars made with SunButter! They’re allergen friendly (nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free) and the perfect portable option for a lunch box treat or after-school snack.
When it comes to granola bars it can be hard to find ones at the store that aren’t loaded with added sugar and preservatives. That’s why I prefer to make my own at home! These homemade granola bars include simple, wholesome ingredients. Plus they are easy to whip up and cheaper than buying store-bought bars.
Why You’ll Love These Granola Bars
These granola bars are made with SunButter which means they’re nut-free and safe to take to school!
They’re super easy to make and there’s no baking required! Just mix, press and chill.
Your kiddos can help you make them! You can put your child in charge of measuring, dumping, stirring and/or pressing the bars depending on how old and independent they are.
School-Safe Granola Bars
SunButter is a great school-safe substitute for peanut butter or any nut butter in recipes. It’s free from the top 8 food allergies in the US including peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk, eggs, wheat, fish, and crustacean shellfish.
If you’re new to sunflower seed butter, it’s made from roasted and ground sunflower seeds packed with vitamins and minerals including Vitamin E, copper, manganese and selenium. Sunflower seed butter is packed with 7 grams of plant-based protein per serving and actually has more vitamins and nutrients than most nut butters!
Can You Substitute SunButter for Peanut Butter in Recipes?
Yes, SunButter makes a great substitute for peanut butter (or any nut butter) in recipes like cookies, muffins, protein balls and energy bites. SunButter has more of an earthy, roasted flavor that’s absolutely delicious and it’s an awesome option when you need recipes to be nut-free. I pack my daughter SunButter and jelly sandwiches for lunch all the time and she loves it!
SunButter – I used organic SunButter for these granola bars, which has no added salts or sugars and contains 8 grams of plant-based protein per serving. Feel free to use another variety of SunButter, just note that many of the other SunButter varieties have added sugar, so these bars will likely be a tad sweeter if you use another variety.
honey – a perfect natural sweetener and part of the “glue” that holds these bars together. I love the pairing of SunButter and honey.
sunflower seeds – these add a little crunch and nutty flavor to the bars without adding nuts. You can use raw or roasted sunflower seeds. If you use roasted and salted sunflower seeds you may want to cut back on the added salt.
chia seeds – these little “super seeds” will fill the bars with added protein, omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. They also help the bars hold together.
sea salt – just a bit to bring out all the flavors.
vanilla extract – a sweet flavor enhancer for these bars.
Substitutions & Notes
Not only are these granola bars super easy to whip up and perfect for school lunches, but they’re totally customizable as well. Here are some substitutions you could make:
Honey: I haven’t tried it, but I bet using maple syrup or agave would work as a substitute if you want these bars to be vegan.
Chocolate chips: You could mix in your favorite dried fruit instead of the chocolate chips. I bet raisins, dates, dried cranberries or dried blueberries would all be delicious.
Chia seeds: Feel free to swap the chia seeds with flax seeds.
Sunflower seeds: Feel free to swap the sunflower seeds for another seed of choice like pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas). Shredded coconut would also be a great option! And if you don’t need these bars to be nut free you can easily use almonds, cashews or really any nut of choice. If you do use nuts, I recommend slicing or chopping them before adding them to the granola bar mixture.
How to Make
Begin by lining an 8×8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper (I like to use binder clips to clamp the parchment down so it stays in place).
Combine oats, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips and chia seeds in a large bowl. Add SunButter, honey, vanilla and sea salt. Stir well until everything is totally combined. You will need to use some arm muscle for this part because the mixture is thick!
Pour mixture into your parchment-lined baking pan and press firmly using your hands so it’s evenly spread out. Add more chocolate chips on top and press these in as well.
Once the bars are pressed down firmly, place the dish in the fridge for 2 hours to allow the bars to set up. When the bars feel solid/hard to touch, remove the pan, place onto a cutting board, and slice the granola slab into 10 bars. Serve immediately or save for later.
Storing and Freezing
After you cut your granola bars store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. For longer storage, you can freeze them for up to 2 months. If you freeze these bars, wrap them individually and store in a freezer-safe container. I like using glass storage containers or Stasher bags for storing.
Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
Combine oats, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips and chia seeds in a large mixing bowl.
Add SunButter, honey, vanilla and sea salt. Stir well until everything is totally combined.
Pour mixture into your parchment lined baking pan and press firmly using your hands so it’s evenly spread out.. Add more chocolate chips on top and press these in as well.
Once bars are pressed down firmly, place pan in the fridge for 2 hours to allow the bars to set up.
Once the bars feel solid/hard to the touch, remove from the pan, place on a cutting board and slice into 10 bars. Serve immediately or save for later.
These bars will stay together best if you store them in the refrigerator. They will keep for 1 week in an airtight container in the fridge. For freezing, wrap them individually and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.