As I alluded to last week, I’m attempting to curb my sweet intake as of Jan 1 so today I’m sharing an abnormally healthy recipe.  For me, the timing just happens to combine both my resolution and the start of my very own bridal bootcamp.  I’ve always thought the hardest part of eating healthy is finding guilt-free snacks, so I decided to tackle another homemade granola bar to expand my choices for a late afternoon craving. When I saw the title of these over on The Svelte Gourmet, I immediately wanted to try them out, and I’m so glad I did!

Banana is a great substitute for traditional fats used in baking such as butter or oil, so here you get all the flavors of banana while also getting to omit some not-so healthy stuff.  I recently picked up some roasted flax seeds and chia seeds from Trader Joes and threw them in, so these bars are packed with all kinds of trendy, crazy nutrients.  The texture of these granola bars is true to their name – not crunchy, but soft like banana bread.  I’m not going to lie to you, my regular banana bread delivers a lot more yumminess, but for the nutritional content, this one’s not so bad!  The recipe yields 8 granola bars, so it was a perfect amount for Ryan and I to pack in our lunches this week as a snack.  I enjoyed them and didn’t feel bad at all entering them into My Fitness Pal shortly after :)

I wish I was the kind of person that could just swear off sweets completely, but as you probably guessed from the nature of this blog, that’s just not me.  I really can’t go a day without some sort of treat, even if it’s just a Fudgsicle, so I’ve been trying to eat right most of the day so I still get to indulge just a bit.  These granola bars will help stave off hunger and leave more than enough room to have dessert later on!  So to any of you that are worried about a change of content here on Sweet Tooth, don’t fret – we’ll be back to our normal programming next week, and I promise no more flax seeds!!

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Healthy Banana Bread Granola Bars

Recipe adapted from The Svelte Gourmet

Yield: 8 granola bars


1 very ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp honey
1 egg white
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp + 1 tsp brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp flax seeds
1 tsp chia seeds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8x8 baking dish with non-stick spray.

Combine the banana, applesauce, honey, egg white, cinnamon, vanilla extract, salt, and 3 tbsp brown sugar in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the rolled oats, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Add to liquid mixture and stir well to combine.

Press mixture into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp of brown sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Once done, invert onto a cooling rack and allow the bars to cool completely before slicing.

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42 Responses to “Healthy Banana Bread Granola Bars”

  1. #
    Melissa — January 10, 2013 @ 3:55 am

    what did the calorie count come out to when you entered them on MFP? I use that tool as well and plan to make these soon…just wondering what the calories per bar were.


    • Erica — January 10th, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

      About 140 calories! Enjoy :)

  2. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — January 10, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

    I love making my own granola bars – easy, and good for you! I wish I could stay away from treats too, but it just isn’t going to happen. Moderation will have to work :)

  3. #
    Vera Zecevic-Cupcakes Garden — January 15, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

    These bars look so tasty. Beautiful pictures.

  4. #
    Samantha — January 25, 2013 @ 6:16 am

    Could I forgo the flax and chia for just rolled oats? I need to use up these bananas before I can get to the store!

    • Erica — January 25th, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

      Yea the flax and chia seeds are just add-ins, you can leave them out completely if you wish! Enjoy :)

  5. #
    Melissa — January 29, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

    I made these this weekend, they are so good! Thanks for a great recipe.

  6. #
    LeeAnn — March 1, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

    Was just wondering what size pan you used?

    • Erica — March 1st, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

      8×8″! Good luck :)

  7. #
    Krista — March 11, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

    How long will these keep? I’m the only one in the house that eats granola bars so I’m sure it will take longer than a week to eat them

    • Erica — March 11th, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

      I don’t think they’ll be at their prime past a week. I would recommend freezing the extras and letting them come to room temperature before enjoying them later.

  8. #
    Crystal — March 16, 2013 @ 1:42 am

    What is the nutrition information on these bars?

    • Erica — March 18th, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

      I’m not sure of all the nutritional info, but they are about 140 calories each

  9. #
    Robyn — April 3, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

    I wonder if you could forego the brown sugar (or at least some of it) for agave nectar, or if that would make them too mushy and wet. Has anyone tried that? I’m trying to stay away from anything that will spike blood sugar, and agave nectar is great for that.

  10. #
    Claudia — June 17, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

    Hi there – I was just wondering how long these will keep for and still taste as good as they do on the first day? Thank you!

    • Erica — June 24th, 2013 @ 12:14 am

      I would say they keep for about 4-5 days if I remember correctly!

  11. #
    Sheila — July 30, 2013 @ 4:24 am

    These look great. Can I substitute the brown sugar for diabetic sweetener? Or more honey perhaps?

  12. #
    Erica — July 30, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

    Yea I think that would be fine! Not sure exactly how much but I think a substitute would work. Good luck!

  13. #
    Kate — August 5, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

    Hi..I was curious at to whether or not the applesauce is a necessity?


    • Erica — August 6th, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

      I think you can add some butter to make up for it, but if you leave it out entirely you’ll definitely miss out on some moistness!

  14. #
    Lindsey — August 12, 2013 @ 5:46 am

    These are awesome. Like..SERIOUSLY awesome. I made a couple of batches of breakfast bars last week to see what we liked and these were the best, by far! And the easiest (i followed the recipe minus the chia seeds). I really didn’t expect the flavor and moistness. The first batch went fast, so I just made 2 batches for this week. Thanks SO much for sharing!

  15. #
    Shaja — August 12, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

    What do you think the nutritional breakdown is? Are they suitable for a complete breakfast?

  16. #
    Erica — August 12, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

    I’m really not sure, but it does have fruit and fiber so that sounds good to me!

  17. #
    Bree — August 27, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

    I doubled the recipe and left out the brown sugar and substituted canned pumpkin for the applesauce. I also added nutmeg and cloves. It was very good and by leaving out the brown sugar I knocked one point off the total point count (I’m on Weight Watchers).

    It’s hard to find a good, hearty granola bar that is low in calories. However, next time I will add the sugar because I found the bars could be a little sweeter.

  18. #
    Wendy — September 1, 2013 @ 12:17 am

    I made these tonight and omitted the egg due to a family member allergies and they are decadent! May place chocolate chips on the top next time around to sweeten it up. Thank you very much for posting this recipe!!! It’s a KEEPER!

  19. #
    di koehler — October 19, 2013 @ 11:51 pm

    now that splenda has a brown sugar I think using it will work for the low sugar/diabetic issue

  20. #
    Michelle — November 6, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

    Thanks for posting this great recipe! To those that want a natural low glycemic sweetener ( keeps sugar/insulin levels steady) – coconut sugar is a wonderful substitute for brown sugar and tastes wonderful :)

  21. #
    Bonnie — January 4, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

    I love this recipe and make it all the time. This week I went to make it and didn’t have any apple sauce. I substituted with the same amount of melted natural peanut butter and they were delicious and maintained a nice texture.

  22. #
    Pam — January 26, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

    Nutritional info without flax or chia seeds:
    1.6 g fat, 0.3G sat fat, 0 cholesterol
    154.4mg sodium
    28 g carbs, 2.7 g fiber
    13 g sugar
    3.2 g protein

    Adding the seeds increased the fat content to 2.2 and protein to 3.6 per bar.

    Making the recipe with no sugar added, just honey plus seeds decreases the sugar content from 13 g per bar to 7.3 per bar, 22.8 g of carbs, 3.3 of fiber and 123 calories. 4 g of sugar is equivalent of 1 tsp of sugar. Sadly I read yesterday the American heart Association is recommending less than 9 tsps of sugar a day for MEN and less than 6 a day for women to help prevent heart disease. That’s not much sugar folks! I am having psychological withdrawals already!

    I hope this helps for those seeking nutritional info.

  23. #
    Michelle — February 24, 2014 @ 9:35 pm

    Is there anything I can substitute the honey for? Would maple syrup work just as well? Or would it all fall apart?

    • Erica — February 24th, 2014 @ 11:15 pm

      Maple syrup doesn’t have as much integrity, but maybe agave nectar? Or a mixture of maple syrup and agave. I’m sorry I don’t have a definitive answer! Best of luck :)

  24. #
    Mar — March 4, 2014 @ 4:48 am

    I wonder if you would be able to tell me how perishable these are? I’ve been searching for a homemade granola bar recipe that I have all the ingredients for and that doesn’t require a food processor, and since I LOVE banana bread this one obviously caught my eye. The only thing is that I’m planning on making a batch of bars to take on a week-long trip to tropical southern Mexico. I’ll be in a hotel while I’m there, but I’m just wondering how well they’ll hold up for a day of travel/a few hours a day of sitting in my backpack. I think using fresh banana might make this a bit iffy, but what do you think?

    • Erica — March 5th, 2014 @ 12:13 am

      I wouldn’t keep them longer than a week, but if they’re wrapped tightly and well I think a few days of travel will be just fine! Have a great trip :)

  25. #
    Mar — March 27, 2014 @ 5:39 am

    These were FANTASTIC! I have acid reflux disease so they saved me and my boiling stomach on multiple occasions. I did just 2 tbsp brown sugar and added about 3/4 c of dark chocolate chips to balance out the sweetness. It’s almost like having dessert for breakfast…and much healthier than grabbing a slice of actual banana bread for breakfast! I’m about to make a couple more batches. This is just the beginning of a lifetime (I’m 20) of never buying granola bars in a box again and I am so excited to experiment more! Thank you!

  26. #
    Victoria — April 4, 2014 @ 2:39 am

    Can I not add the sugar? (:

  27. #
    Nadia — May 19, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

    Holy Smokes… I just made these and they were AWESOME!! They taste exactly like banana bread. These will be made in my house OFTEN!! Thanks so much for sharing this amazing recipe.

    • Erica — May 19th, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

      Yayy so glad you liked them!

  28. #
    Brian Nguyen — September 3, 2014 @ 7:08 pm

    Hmm i sat out and did a lot of math and grabbed info off google and compiled a nutritional fact. 240 cal. 5g fat. 155.25mg sodium. 291.7mg potassium. 40g carbs. 9g sugars. 8.25g protein. (per bar)

  29. #
    Brian Nguyen — September 3, 2014 @ 7:09 pm

    this is based on what google nutritional facts gave me for every ingredient, so up to you guys to trust me or not!

  30. #
    Sarah — September 17, 2014 @ 7:51 pm

    Do you recommend using whole flax seeds or ground flax meal? I just bought some ground flax but re-read the recipe and think you meant whole seeds. Could I put in ground instead? If so, how much do you think? Thanks.

  31. #
    Erica — September 18, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

    I recommend whole flax seeds for these, but if you have ground flax just use a little less. Enjoy!

  32. #
    Lisa — January 8, 2015 @ 1:06 pm

    I made these for my girls’ school snack the other night. The family ended up eating the whole thing (less one bar that I had packed in a lunch box) that night. LOL.
    Since we are kicking sugar in our house, I omitted the brown sugar instead substituted 1 TB brown rice syrup and reduced honey to 1 TB, increased the applesauce slightly (used one pre-packaged applesauce cup) and they were very tasty. Even my picky eater (“I only want it if it has chocolate chips in it”) loved them. I didn’t let the pan cool before inverting and it came out in 3 pieces. :(

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