make ahead morning

We have an awesome guest post from Amy of Yummy Toddler Food, here to help bring some peace back to your mornings without sacrificing the healthfulness: Kid-Friendly Banana Bread Oatmeal Bars!
Make Ahead Banana Oatmeal BarsMy two year old is a total morning person. She’s usually up way before the sun and comes into my room to wake me up with a gentle tap and a “Mama, I’m awake.” At 5 am, I’m not always at my best, but I gather my energy, give her a good morning hug, and make myself a cup of tea. We read books, play tea party, and sometimes build with her beloved Magna Tiles—which, combined with the things we actually have to do to be ready to leave the house at 8 sometimes means that breakfast is a little rushed.

To avoid feeling too much morning stress, I try to have at least one pre-made breakfast option in the fridge. It could be Overnight Oats with Yogurt and Berries, Mini Egg and Cheese Muffins, or these Banana Bread Oatmeal Bars.

The beauty of these bars is that the batter is made in the food processor (no need to dirty other bowls!), they take about 30 minutes from start to finish, and I’d argue that they taste better the second day—so they are perfect to bake on Sunday and serve throughout the week. They are a balanced breakfast option with a good assortment of nutrients that little ones need: flavor and potassium from bananas, fiber and complex carbohydrates from oats, and a dose of protein and healthy fats from eggs and almond butter. And with just a tablespoon of natural sweetener and no gluten, they also happen to be a great option for kiddos (or parents) on more restricted gluten-free or refined sugar-free diets.Make Ahead Banana Oatmeal BarsEven younger toddlers will be able to enjoy these bars since the texture is soft, yet moist and almost cake-like. Cut up into cubes, serve whole with a simple (sippy) cup of milk, or round out the meal with fruit and yogurt. And don’t forget to enjoy one yourself!Make Ahead Banana Oatmeal BarsBanana Bread Oatmeal Bars

We like these bars plain, topped with nut butter, or spread with cream cheese and a drizzle of honey as a quick breakfast option—or a sweet, yet wholesome afternoon snack.

Makes: About 20 3-inch bars

2 cups rolled oats
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup almond butter (or 1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled)
1 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9×11-inch baking dish with nonstick spray (or use a paper towel to coat with canola or coconut oil).
2. Grind the oats in a food processor for about 30 seconds, or until they resemble a coarse flour. (They should look like quick oats or the ones in instant oatmeal packets).
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and process for about 1 minute, stopping to scrap down the sides of the processor as needed, until the batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan, smoothing with a spatula so it’s even in the pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan before slicing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Storage: Wrap bars individually in plastic wrap and store in a zip top freezer bag in the fridge for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 3 months. Serve chilled or warm slightly to serve from the fridge; warm for 30-45 seconds in the microwave, or until just thawed and heated through, from the freezer.

Variations:
Add 1/2 cup raisins or dark chocolate chips to the batter before pouring into the pan.
Add 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or ginger for additional spice.
Use granulated sugar or honey instead of maple syrup if you prefer.Make Ahead Banana Oatmeal BarsHuge thanks to Amy for this awesome healthy breakfast option! Check out her site, full to the brim with awesome ideas just like this! We also love her Instagram and Facebook (@yummytoddlerfood) feed for ideas on the go!

Comments

  1. Melinda:
    on March 3, 2015 at 5:24 pm said:

    This looks delicious!

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