These Healthy No-Bake Cereal Bars for kids are simple to make, requiring just 6 ingredients. Whole-grains, protein and plenty of fiber make them the perfect whole-food grab n’ go breakfast option for busy mornings.
I post LOTS of recipes. I make and test even more recipes. An unfortunate side effect? It takes a lot to get me really excited about a recipe.
I don’t ever post things that don’t taste great and that my family doesn’t love on this site, but sometimes I wish that there was a secret signal where I could let you know that THIS recipe is something special, something that you ABSOLUTELY have got to try. You guys.. these Healthy, No-Bake Cereal Bars for kids would definitely get “the signal.”
There is lots to love about them, but if I am being completely honest, my favorite thing is that they don’t have to be baked. Throughout the day, I pick-up or drop off kids at 6:50, 9:00, 12:00 and 3:00 and that’s just school. No sports activities included. Suffice it to say, it makes it tough to create a recipe AND get it cooked before I have to dash out of the house for a pick-up. So for me, a recipe with no-baking required is a Very. Good. Thing.
A close second on my list of favorite things is the fact that these bars can be made ahead of time. I have never made a secret of the fact that I absolutely suck at life in the early AM. If I didn’t have breakfast planned out and prepared the night before, well.. if I’m being completely honest, it’s questionable if my kids would even get fed. Since sending your kids to school hungry because you hit the snooze button too many times is frowned on, and in general considered negligent parenting.. you will ALWAYS find grab n’ go breakfast options around my house.
Can I have just 1 more favorite thing? It’s pretty relevant too. My kids like these bars. If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you may have seen that this was not the first batch of these bars that I created. My first had dried blueberries (trying to get the antioxidants in there) and only puffed rice cereal (the original goal was 3 ingredient cereal bars). Cooper didn’t like the “raisins” and without the rolled oats and O’s.. the bars were kinda soggy. I did a total of 3 test batches, and only with this recipe did Cooper go for it. Side Note.. Cam hated the originals and then never trusted me enough to try batch 2 or 3 😂.
These cereal bars are full of all kinds of good for you whole-food ingredients. The cereals all contain less than 5 ingredients, are whole-grain and free from funky additives. The peanut butter adds a punch of protein and the coconut oil some healthy fat. The rolled oats have got things covered in the fiber department. Serve these bars with a glass of milk and it’s a bowl of cereal on nutritional steroids.
Time Saving Tips and Tricks:
Prep: You could double your dry ingredients and save 1/2 in a large jar in your pantry for the next time you make cereal bars, but honestly, since there are only 3 dry ingredients, it probably isn’t worth your time. The only reason I could see this being helpful would be if you want to make sure that when you are ready to make the bars.. the kids haven’t eaten all the cereal!
Make Ahead: Yes! It’s one of the great things about these bars. Since you don’t serve them warm, they are actually made to be “make-ahead.” I like to make a batch (sometimes a double) on Sunday and then use them for breakfasts and/or lunch boxes throughout the week. They taste just as great on Friday as they do on Monday.
Freezer: You bet. I actually store store my bars in the freezer most often. The honey can make them a bit sticky, but when they are frozen it doesn’t matter. The boys don’t complain about how cold the bars are, so I figure.. go with it!
- 1½ cups puffed rice cereal
- 1½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup whole grain O's cereal
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ½ TBS coconut oil
- big pinch of course sea salt (optional)
- mini dark chocolate chunks (optional)
- Line a 9" square cake pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper (one going each way).
- In a large mixing bowl, combine puffed rice, rolled oats, and whole grain O's. Toss to combine.
- In a small pot over medium heat, combine honey, peanut butter and coconut oil. Stir continuously until mixture is smooth.Do not overcook.
- Pour honey/peanut butter mixture into the large mixing bowl with the cereal. Use a rubber spatula to incorporate. Add chocolate if using. Make sure that all cereal is coated evenly. It will be very sticky.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan, using the rubber spatula to spread it out into an even layer. Lightly wet your hands and press down on the mixture to even it out. Use a slightly wet rubber spatula to compact the mixture more, pay particular attention to the edges. This helps ensure that the bars will hold together.
- Place the pan in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until firm.
- Lift the bars from the pan, using the parchment paper and place them on a cutting board. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice the square into 6 rows and then slice them in half to make 12 bars.
- Wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
- There are lots of “puffed rice cereals.” Look for a variety that contains only 1-ingredient, rice; is 100% whole grain and doesn’t have added salt. I used Whole Grain Puffed White Rice from Arrowhead Mills.
- Same rules apply for rolled oats. Look for a variety that has only 1-ingredient, rolled oats. I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats.
- I wasn’t able to find whole-grain O’s cereals (AKA… Cheerios without all the junk) that contained only a single ingredient. I did find one that had only 5 from One Degree Organic, Veganic Ancient Grain Sprouted O’s. Sounds kinda crazy, but in all honesty they taste just like Cheerios.
- I’m starting to sound like a broken record, buuuut… when you buy peanut butter, the only ingredient should be peanuts. No point in spending your time making homemade bars if you use ingredients with lots of junk and additives. Since you are only using 6 ingredients, it is really important to make sure that they are quality.
- The dark chocolate chunks are optional.. totally get it if you don’t want your kid’s breakfast to have it. With that said.. I usually throw in about 2 TBS of dark chocolate that I have crushed into fine pieces with a meat mallet. It makes the boys excited to eat the bars and when the chocolate mixes with the hot peanut butter/honey mixture it melts and quite honestly takes the bars to another level.
- This mixture is SUPER STICKY! You didn’t do anything wrong.. don’t stress!
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