These no bake cereal bars are the perfect combo of chewy and crunchy. They hold together well so they’re portable and make a delicious, healthy whole-grain snack!
Like trail mix in bar form, these cereal bars are packed with nutrient-dense superfood seeds, cereal with whole grain and dried fruit. They’re held together with a blend of almond butter and honey so they’re nutty, sweet and perfectly chewy with a little crunch from the cereal.
Plus, they’re so quick and easy to make. I’ve already made two batches in the past couple of weeks and I can easily see them becoming a weekly staple around here. Isaac loves snacking on them while out and about and they’ve quickly become a daily afternoon snack for me.
Are Cereal Bars Healthy?
It’s fair to say that not all cereal bars are healthy… there are some store-bought versions that are basically candy. But my version is definitely healthy! They’re packed with fiber, healthy fats and protein thanks to the seeds, oats and nut butter. These bars are only sweetened with honey so they’re much healthier than cereal bars you’d find in the grocery store that are typically loaded with added sugars and oil.
Why I Love Whole Grains
With the paleo and grain-free food trends, I think grains have gotten a bad reputation but it’s important to remember that whole grains (like oats, rice, corn, sorghum, spelt, wheat, rye, barley, etc) are whole, real foods and unless you have an allergy or intolerance, they’re really good for you.
Whole grains provide key nutrients in our diets like vitamins, minerals and fiber. Studies also show that eating more whole grains may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases like heart disease. And it’s crazy because 95% of Americans do not get enough whole grain in their diet! When you make these bars you’re packing in a good amount. Now that is something you can feel good about.
Here’s What You Need
Cheerios – I like using original Cheerios as a base for these bars. You could also use a flavored variety like honey nut or pumpkin spice (check out these pumpkin spice cereal bars) for more flavor!
old fashioned oats – my fave brand of oats is Bob’s Red Mill. They have a gluten-free oats if needed too!
unsweetened coconut flakes – just look for unsweetened coconut (without any added sugar).
dried cranberries – try to find unsweetened berries if you can or cranberries that are only sweetened with fruit juice. Goji berries, dried cherries, raisins, dates, figs or dried blueberries would all make for good alternatives to the dried cranberries if needed.
seeds – I use a combination of pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds and chia seeds.
almond butter – natural creamy almond butter works best! Make sure it doesn’t have any added ingredients and is just almonds and salt. You can also use peanut butter, cashew butter or sunflower seed butter.
honey – this is the natural sweetener I like to use for these bars because it’s sticky and keeps the bars together. I don’t think maple syrup will hold the bars together as well.
vanilla extract – a flavor enhancer.
salt – salt helps all of the flavors come together.
How to Make Cereal Bars
Start by mixing all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the almond butter and honey over low-medium heat. Stir frequently to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn. The longer you heat, the harder the final cereal bar will be! If your mixture comes to a boil you will have a pretty firm cereal bar. When the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and sea salt.
Pour the liquid mixture over the cereal mixture and toss to coat everything.
Line a baking dish with parchment paper and pour the mixture into the lined pan. Press down firmly with a spatula or your hands. This step is key! You want to really pack these bars into the pan. If you don’t, your bars might not stick together.
After the bars are fully pressed into the pan, place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes to set. Remove from the freezer, cut into bars or squares and enjoy!
How to Store Leftovers
These bars store really well! Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or store in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you store them in the freezer, I recommend letting them thaw in the refrigerator before enjoying them.