These Three Ingredient Easy No Bake Oatmeal Bars are perfect healthy snacks for BLW, Toddlers, and Kids, and are very versatile depending on what you already have on hand!
If your household is looking like MY household, you’re probably gearing up for a busy back-to-school season. And as we all know, back-to-school season means getting back into the routine of packing lunches for the kiddos everyday. Kids have high energy needs, especially with a jam-packed school day. But I know a lot of us don’t have a ton of time to be prepping snacks from scratch or even have the ability to easily and quickly pick up lots of ingredients. So I wanted to share my kiddo’s new favourite snack that is super versatile: these easy, vegan, no bake oatmeal bars.
Why This Recipe Works
These no bake oatmeal bars are sure to be a snack-time favourite for a couple of reasons. They are:
- Kid-friendly and school-friendly (with modifications)
- Packed with whole grains and healthy fats
- Uses pantry staples
- Highly customizable
This recipe could not be simpler, and basically just utilizes all of your pantry staples – there are only THREE mandatory ingredients!!
Quick cooking oats – I prefer the quick cooking oats to the old fashioned rolled oats since these bars are no bake; the texture is a little easier to handle.
Natural nut butter – Use a good natural peanut butter or almond butter with no added sugar or salt. Soy or seed-based butters (e.g. sunflower seed butter) are good swaps for those with peanut/tree nut allergies.
Maple syrup – This can easily also be honey or agave, whatever you have on hand.
The rest of the ingredients are optional including salt, cinnamon (or another favourite baking spice), vanilla and whatever toppings you want to throw on top.
How To Make This Recipe
Step 1: Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Step 2: Put the oats in a large bowl.
Step 3: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil. Once it’s bubbling, add it to the oats, along with the peanut butter and any optional ingredients. Quickly mix everything, as it will become harder to mix if you wait.
Step 4: Transfer the mixture to the lined pan, and press down hard to pack it tightly. This will help the bars stay together. If you want to add more toppings on top, go for it now! Put the pan in the fridge or freezer for 1 hour, them cut it into 16 bars using a serrated knife.
The sky is the limit when you’re flavouring up your oatmeal bars. This is your opportunity to really go to town using up any little odd or end you have in the pantry! Here are some ideas:
- Freeze dried fruit (I like to pulverize or smash mine into a powder)
- Minced nuts
- Hemp hearts
- Chia seeds
- Mini chocolate chips
- Coconut shreds
Let the kids get involved by adding in some of their favourite toppings.
They are definitely safe, especially if you’re finely mincing up any dried fruit or nuts. Just one thing to note is that there is added sugar in them, so if you’re limiting this for little ones under 1, you may just want to be mindful of portions. In this situation, of course, it would also be really important to use maple syrup instead of honey. But for babies over 1, toddlers, and kids, this is a delicious no bake snack.
Since these bars are no bake, it’s easy for kids to get involved safely. Once you carefully put the hot maple syrup into the oats, have them help you mix in the peanut butter, and any of the add-ins or optional ingredients. You can also have them help you pack it down really tight.
These bars can be kept at room temperature for 3-5 days in an airtight container (I usually like to cut them into squares and separate them in layers in an airtight container). They will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month. You can also freeze them for up to 6 months if you’d like to make a larger batch. They can thaw overnight in the fridge, or in your purse if you’ll need to be out and about.
You can use sunflower seed butter or soy based butter in place of the peanut butter (and of course, avoid any nut toppings as your add-ins). However, always check with your school or daycare to make sure that these “faux” nut butters are still okay.
More Recipes You Might Like
We love bars in my house and I do prefer to make my own to allow me to add in lots of nutritious toppings and limit the added sugar. If you liked these no bake oatmeal bars, here are some more of my favourites:
- Patriotic Vegan Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- Toddler Vegan Homemade Granola Bars
- No Bake Cheerios Bars
- Vegan Cinnamon Bun Granola Bars
Have you tried these no bake oatmeal bars yet? Leave me a comment below and let me know what toppings your family added!
Easy No Bake Vegan Oatmeal Bars for Kids & Toddlers
- Mini chocolate chips
- Pulverized freeze dried fruit
- Minced dates raisins, cranberries
- Minced almonds pecans, pistachios, seeds, coconut
- Hemp hearts
- Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Put the oats in a large bowl.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil. Once it’s bubbling, mix it in the oats, along with the peanut butter, any of the optional ingredients and your “add ins”.
- Quickly mix everything together as it will become very hard to mix if you wait.
- Transfer the mixture to the lined loaf pan, and press down very hard to pack it tightly. This will help the bars stay together. If you want to add more toppings on top, go for it now! Put the pan in the fridge or freezer for 1 hour then using a serrated knife, cut into 16 bars.
Updated on September 21st, 2022
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.