If you ever find yourself with a glut of speckled bananas on your hands and want something other than banana bread to fill the void, try these lightly sweetened bars. They taste like a baked version of banana chocolate chip pancakes and use a full 5 overripe bananas. These healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Bars are a hybrid breakfast-dessert that are perfect for meal prep.
Did you ever go through a period of your life where a cookie was a perfectly acceptable breakfast? Me too, y'all. Me too. Now that I'm a bit older and wiser, though, I know the havoc that added sugar can have on my energy for the rest of the day. I created these Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars as a way to feel like I'm eating a cookie while actually giving myself some real nutrition.
Table of Contents
- Why I Love This Recipe
- How to Make Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars
- How and When Should I Serve These Breakfast Bars?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Want Some More Healthy Breakfast Inspiration? Check Out These Other Recipes:
Why I Love This Recipe
I don't know what it is about the colder weather, but my sweet tooth really starts going nuts as the days grow shorter. In an attempt to not let my base instincts win - especially before I'm completely awake - I've been reworking some of my favorite "dessert for breakfast" recipes to be a bit healthier.
I came up with this healthy breakfast bar recipe after realizing that another batch of banana bread, while quite delicious, might not be as nutritious as I like. They're basically 1 part cookie, 1 part pancake and all parts delicious, with just enough chocolate to make getting out of bed feel really worth it.
Oh, and as a bonus? They're easy enough to make in a single bowl without the use of a mixer. Pretty neat, right?
How to Make Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars
Part of why I love this recipe is that you literally just need a fork and a bowl to make the batter. I honestly can't think of another recipe that requires so little in terms of clean up! First up, mash your bananas in the bowl using the back of a fork. Now mash in the coconut oil.
TIP: Coconut oil has a low melting point. For the most consistent batter, you should zap your coconut oil in the microwave for about 15 seconds until mostly melty. This will prevent chunks of coconut oil from forming.
Now add your eggs, vanilla and sugar, and stir vigorously to incorporate.
TIP: Want to be a little healthier? Swap coconut sugar or monkfruit sweetener for the brown sugar to save calories and have a lower glycemic index.
Sprinkle your baking powder over the top of the batter and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes. This allows the baking powder time to absorb some liquid, not only helping it to disburse more evenly in the batter, but also giving it more of a chance to rise. (This is especially true of baking powders made without aluminum.)
Sprinkle the cinnamon and salt over the top and stir to combine.
Working in batches, add about half of the flour to the mix, then stir to combine.
Now add the milk and stir.
Add the final bit of flour and stir to completely incorporate everything.
Add about half of the chocolate chips and stir to evenly distribute them.
Pour the batter into 8 x 8 pans that have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips.
Bake at 350F for 20-22 minutes, until the bottoms of the bars are looking golden, the sides are pulling away from the pan, and the tops are firm to the touch. Any skewers should come out clean (with the exception of melted chocolate, of course).
Rest for about 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling. Cut each square into 9 bars.
How and When Should I Serve These Breakfast Bars?
These healthy banana breakfast bars are best served warm, but are still quite tasty at room temperature. They should store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze in an airtight bag for up to 6 weeks.
Simply pop one out and microwave for ~20 seconds (or longer if frozen) to make the chocolate a little melty. Enjoy!
Since they are low in sugar, high in potassium and have a bit of fiber, these banana chocolate chip bars are equally good for breakfast, as a post-workout treat or even as a midday snack. They are especially good when served with a cup of coffee or hot tea.
Frequently Asked Questions
What else can I use other than chocolate chips to make healthy breakfast bars?
While I personally love a bit of chocolate in the morning, I get it if you're trying to avoid temptation so early in the day. You can either swap in sugar-free chocolate chips or unsweetened chocolate chips if you want.
Chopped nuts (especially pecans and walnuts) or cacao nibs would also make a healthy substitute. Dried fruits could also be pretty yummy in there. I'd recommend something in the berry family to pair well with the banana.
I haven't tried it, but I also think you could probably drop spoonfuls of peanut butter and jam on top of the dough and use a knife to swirl it through. Finally, peanut butter chips or Reese's Pieces are also delicious, if not entirely healthy. You're only using ¾ cup, so I feel like that is an okay substitution if you want it!
Can I make these breakfast bars vegan?
Sure thing! Just swap the eggs for flax eggs. A flax egg is made with 1 tablespoon ground flax meal and 3 tablespoon water. Stir them together and allow to rest for 4-5 minutes. When you stir it again, it should be thick and similar in consistency to an egg.
While coconut oil is already vegan, you can also substitute vegan butter for a similar product. Finally, don't use dairy milk and substitute almond, coconut, oat, hemp or other non-dairy milk alternatives.
My bananas aren't ripe yet... What should I do?
If you have a day or two to wait, toss them in a paper bag to speed up the process. If you have a hankering for these banana chocolate chip breakfast bars right now, toss your bananas on a parchment lined rimmed cookie sheet. Put them in the oven at 300F and wait until their skin turns dark brown, about 20 minutes.
Do I have to use whole wheat flour?
While whole wheat flour was what I chose for health reasons, there's no reason why AP flour or a gluten free 1-to-1 flour won't work. In fact, I've tried both out. The whole wheat flour gives a satisfying chew and a bit of a nuttier flavor than the others, and also boasts a bit more fiber. But they're all pretty delicious regardless of which flour you use.
Want Some More Healthy Breakfast Inspiration? Check Out These Other Recipes:
- Instant Pot "Sous Vide" Egg Bites - 3 Ways!
- Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal - Refined Sugar and Gluten Free!
- Banana Blender Protein Pancakes
- Homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 8x8 baking tins with nonstick cooking spray.
- Mash your bananas in a mixing bowl. I used a fork, but you can also use a hand mixer if you prefer. Add coconut oil and mash to incorporate.
- Add eggs, vanilla and sugar and stir to incorporate.
- Sprinkle with baking powder and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon, then stir to combine.
- Working in batches, add about half of the flour and stir to incorporate. Add the milk and stir until uniform. Add remaining flour and stir until uniform.
- Add about ½ of the chocolate chips and stir to incorporate. Pour the batter into prepared baking tins, then sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
- Bake at 350F for 20-22 minutes, until bottoms are golden and toothpick comes out clean. Rest for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Cut each square into 9 wedges and pack in an airtight container. Bars will last up to a week in the refrigerator. To serve, warm a piece in the microwave for about 20 seconds, or in a toaster oven for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!
- If you need to quickly brown some bananas for this recipe, you can easily speed up the process by placing them on a parchment lined rimmed sheet pan and baking at 300F until their skins turn black.
- Frozen bananas will also work for this recipe.
- You can substitute coconut sugar or monkfruit sweetener for a lower glycemic impact.
- You can use whole AP flour or gluten free 1-to-1 flour instead.