Banana Bars

While I’m wholly content to leave certain aspects of back to school behind (homework and general social angst, I’m looking at you), this time of year makes me nostalgic for fresh mechanical pencils, unscribbled-upon agendas, and of course the best part of back to school of all: SNACKS! These Banana Bars are the epitome of after school snack stardom and will be the envy of every lunch box. They’re sweet and scrumptious enough to taste like a treat but are made of healthy ingredients. You’ll feel great packing them for your kids (and yourself!) all year long.

Healthy Banana Bars with Chocolate Chips. Moist, chewy, and easy to make. Kids love them and they are perfect for healthy desserts and snacks! Top with peanut butter frosting or brown butter frosting or enjoy them just as they are. One of the best skinny dessert recipes!

Growing up, I primarily ate the lunch served by our school cafeteria. We had one and only one entree choice, and its name frequently ended with the word “surprise.” Thus, the culinary highlight of my day was my after school snack at home.

Back then, my snack cycle was a solid rotation of sugary cereal, Pop Tarts, and Little Debbie snack cakes. Open wrapper. Eat. Repeat.

While I can certainly still can appreciate enjoying any one of these treats now and again, these days I primarily seek treats that are made from less processed ingredients and offer my body nutritional benefits too.

These healthy Banana Bars offer an ideal balance. They are sweetened more naturally with mashed banana and coconut sugar and are 100% whole grain, yet will satisfy any sweet tooth.

A happy handful of chocolate chips certainly doesn’t hurt either!

Healthy Banana Bars with Chocolate Chips. An easy dessert recipe!

Healthy Banana Bars — An Anytime Treat

As a nod to these Banana Bars with chocolate chips’ versatility, I found a good reason to eat them at any time of day.

In the morning, I topped one of the banana squares with a generous portion of Greek yogurt and side of berries.

After a workout, I grabbed one right out of the container and munched it while I finished off my water bottle.

After dinner, I replaced the Greek yogurt with vanilla ice cream and—since we are all friends here—more chocolate chips.

Moist Banana Cookie Bars

As written this Banana Bars recipe is sweet, but not overly so. Like these Strawberry Oatmeal Bars , these Banana Oatmeal Cookies, and honestly the majority of the healthy dessert recipes on my site, they’re well balanced, nutritious, and hit the spot when you need a 3 p.m. pick-me-up or a late night treat.

If you’d like to turn these light Banana Bars into a truly indulgent dessert, you could make them banana bars with peanut butter frosting (Sally’s peanut butter Greek yogurt frosting looks pretty perfect) or banana bars with brown butter frosting (the reviews on this brown butter frosting recipe are stellar).

Easy Banana Bars with Chocolate Chips

Honestly though, I give these healthy Banana Bars an A+ just as they are, no frosting or frills required. If you love a good healthy dessert/wholesome snack crossover, I suspect you’ll give them full marks too!

Healthy Banana Bars recipe

Recommended Tools to Make this Banana Bars Recipe

Healthy Banana Bars with Chocolate Chips. Moist, chewy, and easy to make. Kids love them and they are perfect for healthy desserts and snacks! Top with peanut butter frosting or brown butter frosting or enjoy them just as they are. One of the best skinny dessert recipes!
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Banana Bars with Chocolate Chips

Yield: 16 bars
Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
18 mins
Total Time:
1 hr
Healthy Banana Bars with Chocolate Chips. Moist, chewy, and easy to make. Kids love them and they are perfect for healthy desserts and snacks!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana — about 3 medium bananas
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk — or milk of choice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips — divided

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper so that the parchment overhangs two opposite sides like handles. Lightly coat with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl. Double check the measurement to ensure you have 1 cup (less will make the bars dry; more and they may not bake all the way through). Stir in the coconut sugar, butter, milk, egg, and vanilla until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir to combine, stopping as soon as the flour disappears. Fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate chips on top. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Place the pan a wire rack to cool completely, then using the parchment handles, lift the bars onto a cutting board. Slice into squares of desired size and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Store bars at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.
  • To make dairy free: Use almond milk or coconut milk and replace the butter with the same amount of a vegan butter substitute or coconut oil.
  • To make vegan: Follow the dairy-free directions in the note above; For the egg, you can experiment with a flaxegg, but I haven’t tried this yet. If you do decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!
  • To make gluten free: Replace the wheat flour with the same amount of a 1:1 all purpose baking  flour blend, such as this one.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Banana Bars with Chocolate Chips, Healthy Dessert Bars Recipe

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 (of 16)) — Calories: 98, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 18mg, Carbohydrates: 14g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Protein: 1g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

39 comments

  1. You definitely sold me on these bars!! :)

  2. Can I use regular sugar instead of coconut sugar?

  3. Chocolate and bananas is one of my favorite food combos of all time! <3

  4. I did not have coconut sugar so I used brown and I added 1/3 cup of dried coconut flakes. They were absolutely delicious. Sweet enough to feel like a treat but not overly sweet.

  5. These banana bars really looks very tempting and yummy. I have never tried banana bars but after reading your post I would love to try it. Keep sharing such tasty recipes with the readers.

  6. I loved everything banana! This recipe looks really good so I’ll be giving this a try really soon 

  7. I tried this recipe with almound flour, it’s too moist so I put it back in the oven for an additional 6 minutes.  Still moist but better.  Glad I did it the original recipe too.  Both taste good but texture better on the original.

    • Yolana, almond flour is much much more moist than wheat flour and doesn’t absorb liquid the same way, which is why you had that experience. I’m glad you still enjoyed the taste!

  8. I just made these today and they were delightful! Even my husband and his brother, who gave me a look when I told them they had coconut sugar, loved them. My toddler loved them as well. I’ll be keeping this recipe on my favorites list!

  9. Hi, I love your recipes, so thank you for sharing them! I used gluten free flour to make these, and all three times they are requiring a significantly extended bake time. I typically don’t have that experience when I substitute gluten-free flour for regular/wheat. Any ideas on why?
    Thanks Erin!

    • Hi Nikki, do you have an oven thermometer to verify that your oven gets to the temperature you set it to? Other than that, it’s hard to say what may be the cause without being there in the kitchen with you. I wish I could be more help! (And thank you so much for the kind words about my recipes!)

  10. Hi, your recipe looks great! Do you think i could swap the egg for a flax or chia seeds egg to suit a vegan diet? thank you!!

    • Hi Chloe, I haven’t tried it myself, but I think you could experiment with a flax egg. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  11. Hello! I was just wondering if I could replace the butter for olive oil and if it would make these taste any different. They look really delicious!

    • Hi Rebecca, I haven’t tried that swap myself, but I think you could experiment! The bars may taste slightly different without the butter flavor (or if your olive oil has a strong taste) but should still be delicious.

  12. My husband loves them!  I make them every week since I tried it the first time.  

  13. Hey there,
           I was wondering if you could replace the white whole wheat flour for whole wheat flour. Would it make a huge difference?

    • Hi Barry! You can make that swap, but the bars will be more dense and have a nuttier flavor. If that doesn’t bother you, you’re welcome to experiment!

  14. I can’t even count how many times I’ve made these!! I’ve passed along the recipe to everyone I know.

    I recently started swapping out the spices for 1/2cup of cocoa powder, and it totally changed the game–it tastes like the richest brownies ever. Thank you for bringing such yumminess into my life!!!!

  15. What an incredible recipe!  My kids will go crazy for these!  Yum!

  16. Hi There!
    Can I make these with whole wheat Pasteur flour? What adjustments would I need to make.  Thank you!

    • Huey, I”m sorry but I’m not familiar with pasteur flour, so I can’t advise! I only know the recipe as it is published, since that’s how I tested it.

  17. Came out perfect!  I sprinkled walnuts on top with chips!

  18. I substituted coconut sugar for brown, and added coconut flakes and flax seed to the recipe. They’re delicious! Thanks for this recipe. Even my toddler likes it. This ones a keeper! 

  19. Do you think I could substitute the coconut sugar with a sweetener such as Swerve?

    • Hi Lori, I don’t use these sweeteners myself, so I’m afraid I can’t advise you there. You might want to find a recipe that’s developed for alternative sugars just to be safe. Otherwise if you do decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  20. Can I freeze these? Thx

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