For a healthy pre- or post- workout snack, try these homemade energy bars with peanut butter, banana, and oats! Similar to granola bars, they’re easy to make with only 5 ingredients, and they’re high in protein, fiber, and healthy carbs to give you that boost of energy you need.
The other day, I had a cooking catastrophe in an attempt to make healthy “cookies.”
Well, catastrophe may be kind of a strong word. Because out of it was born these super tasty, super healthy peanut butter and banana energy bars with only 5 ingredients! Here’s the story.
I got it in my head that I wanted to be “healthy” even though I was craving a cookie something fierce.
So, I tried making those two-ingredient “cookies” you always see on Pinterest… you know, the ones made only from mashed bananas and oats?
I am telling you right now: bananas and oats do not a cookie make.
If you want a cookie, do NOT attempt this, whatever you do. To future Elizabeth: when you want cookies, just make them! With BUTTER. And FLOUR.
But, like I said before, I did learn something from the experience! While my two-ingredient experiment did not taste anything like the cookies I was craving, they didn’t taste bad.
They actually had a fluffy, banana bread-ish texture even though it had no flour (since bananas firm up when they bake and act as a binding agent). They were moist, just like banana bread, and somewhat sweet, from the natural sugars in the banana.
And then my food blogger brain got to thinking: this would make a great energy bar!
With some modifications, of course. This is Bowl of DELICIOUS, after all, not Bowl of “Eh, not bad.” And these bars are definitely delicious.
But I DID whip up these delicious and healthy breakfast cookies as well, packed with dried fruit and oats. Yum.
What makes these peanut butter and banana oat bars healthy?
These granola bars have only 5 healthy, natural ingredients: bananas, peanut butter, oats, nuts/seeds, and honey.
Throw a little cinnamon/vanilla/other spices in there too, if you’re feeling crazy.
Maybe even some chocolate chips! YUM.
They are packed full of carbs, healthy fats, and protein, with nothing acidic or too flavorful to cause indigestion while working out, and they will keep you full and satisfied for a long time.
They are the PERFECT pre-hike/pre-run/pre-workout snack. WAY better than a Power Bar, for sure!
How to make peanut butter, oat, and banana energy bars
They are so easy to make. Just mix some the ingredients with a mixer (I use my KitchenAid mixer), spread in a baking dish, and bake.
- First, mix mashed banana, oats, peanut butter, sliced almonds, and some honey (and vanilla extract and cinnamon for extra credit) with a standing or hand mixer. The dough will be quite thick.
- Line a baking dish with parchment paper and spread the dough in as evenly as possible
- Bake and slice!
One important note: make sure you allow to cool completely before you cut into it, otherwise it may fall apart.
Tips and Tricks
- For ripe bananas whenever you want them, store very ripe extras in your freezer. When you want to use them, just microwave for one minute, peel, and you have perfectly soft, ripe bananas for baking.
- For a peanut butter substitute– you can substitute almond butter or another nut butter. I sometimes make my own peanut butter– it’s SO EASY.
- Instead of sliced almonds– you can use any combination of nuts and/or seeds you want. Pecans, peanuts, or other nuts, in addition to seeds such as sunflower, flax, or pumpkin seeds can be used as well.
- For a nut-free version, you can easily substitute the peanut butter with sunflower seed butter, and the sliced almonds with sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Use whatever you have in your pantry to make it easy!
What do these energy bars taste like?
These energy bars are kind of like granola bars, but have a bread-ier, fluffier texture to them. They aren’t as crunchy as your traditional granola bars.
In fact, they taste very much like a dense banana bread.
They are moist, they bind together well, and they are sweet and salty from the peanut butter and honey. They stay good at room temperature for a week, they are inexpensive to make, and are freezable.
And best of all, they give you a huge boost of energy from all-natural, real ingredients. They are perfect not only for before working out, but for a snack at work, for a breakfast on the go, or for road trips with hungry kids.
Or road trips with hungry adults.
Speaking of road trips, here is the real reason why I made these! Zach and I are driving to Maine tomorrow and are planning on bringing these energy bars for snacking on for the four hour drive.
We’re also going snowshoeing! These energy bars will be great to bring with us on our trek in the wilderness.
If we get stranded, at least we will have snacks.
Other recipes with bananas and oats
- DIY no bake chewy granola bars
- How to make your own instant oatmeal packets
- Cardamom coconut granola
- Healthy Banana Bread made with olive oil
- Blueberry, banana, and oat muffins
Check out all my appetizer and snack recipes here.
Did you make this peanut butter and banana energy bars recipe? Please click the stars below to comment and Rate this Recipe
5 Ingredient Peanut Butter and Banana Energy Bars
- Add oats (2 cups) and almonds (1 cup) and mix until combined.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on edges.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting bars.
- Store at room temperature for a week or freeze for up to 6 months in an airtight container or wrapped individually in plastic wrap.
- Variations: Add chocolate chips, other spices like nutmeg, or other extracts like almond.
- For a nut-free version, use sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter and use sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds instead of almonds.
- If you're gluten-sensitive, make sure to buy gluten-free oats.
- If your peanut butter is salt-free, I recommend adding 1/4 teaspoon or so of kosher salt to the mix.
- 9x9 Baking Dish (or similar size)
- Hand mixer