These nut free granola bars are the perfect snack for back to school! They're lightly sweetened, perfectly chewy and even dairy and gluten free.
The ultimate nut free back to school snack
I love making homemade energy balls and granola bars because they are so easy to make and taste amazing! Here are five of my favorite reasons why you need these nut free snack this September.
- They're cheaper than store bought granola bars. These days a box of 8 granola bars can run you upwards of $5-$8 depending on the brand. This is one of the key reasons I love making my own homemade version. These easy nut free snack bars were made using ingredients I already had on hand plus I got 12 bars out of them!
- They're more balanced snack options. One of the things I hate the most about store bought granola bars is the sugar content. Although as a Dietitian, I don't always rely on food labels to dictate my food choices one of the things I'm always conscious of is added sneaky sugars in my diet. Granola bars can be a huge source of hidden sugars, which is why these lower sugar granola bars are the perfect option.
- They're customizable. Do you have a picky eater at home? These homemade healthy chocolate chip oatmeal bars can be customized to their liking. Don't like coconut? Swap it for more oats. Don't have sunflower seeds on hand? Switch them for another seed of choice. The possibilities are endless.
- They taste amazing. Honestly if I had the choice between a store bought granola bar and one of these homemade granola bars the choice would be easy. These homemade bars are so good they'll pass even the pickiest of eaters tests.
- They're perfect for those with food allergies! Homemade granola bars are great. The only problem? They typically contain peanut butter or some type of nut butter for binding. Lucky for you, these nut free granola bars are nut free (duh), but also gluten free (if you use gluten free oats) and they're even dairy free granola bars! Meaning they are perfect for those with food allergies.
Ingredients needed for nut free snack bars
Oats- The base of these healthy chocolate chip oatmeal bars are... you guessed it.. oats! Like most granola bars, these are made with oats. Rolled oats, quick oats and minute oats will both work (I would recommend against using instant oats). If you are gluten free- ensure you are using certified gluten free oats for this recipe.
Sunflower seeds- Zinc, folate and vitamin E are all nutrients you will find by adding sunflower seeds to these bars. I personally like adding them as they add a subtle crunch, breaking up the chewy oat texture. However if you are not a sunflower seed fan, feel free to substitute these with another seed or with more oats!
Flax seed- Ground flax seeds have two purposes in these nut free granola bars. For one, they are amazing for digestion- helping to keep everything moving along, while also helping to lower cholesterol levels! Plus they act to help hold everything together since we aren't using peanut butter! When interacting with wet ingredient flax seeds acts a binder,expanding to form a gel-like consistency. Just make sure you use ground flax seed!
I personally have not tried this recipe without the flax seed- I'm sure it would work they just may be a bit more crumbly.
Cinnamon- For flavour! If you aren't a cinnamon fan leave it out however I think it adds the best cozy taste.
Coconut oil- Our nut butter replacement in these nut free granola bars. For this recipe you are going to want your coconut oil to be melted and cooled for best results!
I have not tested this with any other replacement but butter is usually a good replacement if you are not looking for dairy free granola bars.
Vanilla extract- FLAVOUR baby!! Since we are baking these there's honestly no difference in my opinion between using artificial or natural vanilla extract so use whatever you have on hand.
Honey- For some natural sweetness. I personally find honey to be slightly more binding in recipes like these peanut free granola bars, however maple syrup *should* work as well if you are looking for a vegan substitute!
Eggs- Once again for binding! I tried to make these vegan by leaving out the eggs and they really did not want to stay together so I would personally say they're necessary (plus added protein)! However if you have a vegan egg substitute you find works really well try it in these and let me know how it turns out.
Coconut- Unsweetened shredded coconut helps add flavour to these granola bars. I personally am a huge fan of coconut so I love the lightly toasted coconut flavour in these nut free snack bars. However if you don't love coconut feel free to add more oats as a replacement!
Chocolate chips/ mix-ins- I used both semi sweet and white chocolate chips in these. However use whatever your heart desires- m&ms, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, dried fruit... the choice is yours!
Is coconut a nut?
Good question. A question I had to confirm for myself. The answer is.... nope! Despite the name coconut is not considered a true tree nut as it is a drupe fruit. This means that it does not contain nut proteins however if you are someone that suffers from nut allergies I would recommend checking with your doctor before consuming!
How to make peanut free granola bars
These peanut free granola bars are seriously the ultimate meal prep snack idea because they are SO easy! Seriously, all you need is 10 minutes of prep time and you'll have more than enough granola bars for the week. If you are looking for a recipe to get the kids involved and excited about food.. this is a great recipe to try!
All you need to do...
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper (I'd recommend this over spraying with non stick cooking spray as it make the bars easier to remove).
- Toast the coconut! I personally love the flavour of toasted coconut so this is a must-do step for me (however you can if you wish). To toast your coconut, add your coconut to a small pan over medium heat, stirring every few minutes. After about 2-3 minutes your coconut should begin to turn golden brown. Once this happens remove it from the heat! This step happens FAST and you don't want to burn it!
- Add all your ingredients to a medium bowl and stir! To make it easier I'd recommend adding your wet ingredients first, mixing then following with your dry ingredients and mix-ins! note the mix will be crumbly!
- Once everything is mixed, pour the mixture into your prepared pan, PRESS down (this is important to ensure the mixture stays together- I like to use the back of a spatula) and bake for about 22-25 minutes or until the top begins to turn light brown.
- Allow your bars to cool then slice into your desired size granola bars.
These nut free granola bars store best in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container until you need them! I personally like to freeze them as I find they don't get too hard. They should last about 5-6 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer!
More easy meal prep snack ideas
If you love these peanut free granola bars you NEED to try these other meal prep snack ideas...
- Chocolate chip cookie bars
- One bowl banana bread oatmeal cups
- Chickpea veggie fritters
- Oatmeal cookie energy balls
- Quinoa egg muffins
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make these nut free granola bars don't forget to tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment below!
Nut Free Granola Bars
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
- 2 medium eggs
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups oats rolled, quick or minute all work
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup flax seed ground
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup chocolate chips or mix-ins of choice
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Toast your coconut flakes by adding them to a small pan over medium heat and stirring occasionally. After about 2-3 minutes your coconut should begin to brown. When this happens remove from heat ASAP (or it will burn)!
- To a medium bowl, add your eggs, honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract and stir.
- To the same bowl, add oats, sunflower seeds, toasted coconut, ground flax seed, salt and cinnamon and mix until combined. Add your mix-ins and stir again. (the mixture will be crumbly).
- Press oat mixture into your prepared baking pan using the back of a spatula, sprinkle with additional chocolate chips if desired and bake for 22-25 minutes or until the top begins to brown slightly. Remove from oven, allow to cool and slice into about 12 even granola bars.