Healthy lunchbox granola bar recipe – this is the winning recipe!

It looks like this is the most popular granola bar recipe on the Internet. :)

After a trip to the grocery store yesterday I renewed my resolution to bake my own healthy granola bars for the girls to bring to school. Gah. I walked past aisle after aisle of over-sugared, over salted, high-fructose corny syrup, over hyped, over packaged crap. I just had to make my own. (I even saw Disney Princess SANDWICH BAGS. Fer chrissakes.)

Anyway, after a lot of searching I found a healthy granola bar recipe to make for my kids, but after reading a few of the comments posted with the recipe I decided to alter it a bit and make it my own.

This one is a keeper. It was wildly successful, despite the fact I totally screwed it up (but more on that later), and it received an enthusiastic thumbs up from everyone. Here’s what they look like:

Granola bars for back-to-school lunches

Here’s my version … (it’s nut-free, and you can make this as organic as you want)

2 cups rolled oats (I’ve upped it to 2 1/2 cups for another batch and they turned out great)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I think it was called “soft” flour)*
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cherry-flavoured cranberries
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup canola oil (I might try substituting some of the oil with apple sauce next time)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* I picked up a lot of these ingredients at the bulk food store. I’ve also made a batch with sunflower seeds and whole flax seeds. They were just as great! I find that if I add raisins and cranberries the bars become sweeter and chewier. You’ll have to experiment and figure out what you like best.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 baking pan.

2. In large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, flax, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the centre, pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well. Pat the mixture evenly into the pan. It will be sticky.

3. Bake for about 30 minutes, but watch the baking time. If you leave them in too long they’ll be dry. I like mine a bit chewier so 30 minutes works for us. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars or squares. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting or they will be too hard to cut.


So. I mixed the ingredients. The original recipe said to use your hands to mix, which I did, and I realized I really didn’t need to. Oh well. After I was done I licked ALL TEN FINGERS because the mixture was so good. I poured the mixture into the pan and popped it into the hot oven. After about five minutes I realized that the mixture was a little too wet. And THEN I realized it was because I forgot to add the flour. I pulled it out, sprinkled the flour on top, mixed it in, and put it back into the oven. PEOPLE, THIS IS THE WAY I COOK THINGS.

BUT they were still pretty good.

I’m not sure if they’ll be sweet enough for everyone’s liking. I reduced the amount of sugar, but I found the raisins made the bars sweeter. The girls like them, and that’s what matters to me.

If you try them let me know how they turn out for you! Any questions? Please let me know.


Update: June 2015
This recipe for granola bars is still a family favourite! My kids love bringing them to school. I bake them on Sunday afternoons for the week ahead.

Healthy homemade granola bar recipe !

You can cut them as large or small as you like. For this batch I cut them into bigger bars before I wrapped them in foil and popped them in the freezer… although I’m not sure why I bother, because they disappear so quickly.

Homemade granola bar recipe

Leave a comment

  1. Thanks Andrea for the recipe! I made it, subbing honey for maple, and for the dried fruit – 1/2 c both dried cherries and apricots. A huge hit in our house. A mom win!

  2. This is the recipe I’ve been faithfully using for granola bars since I discovered it years ago! Ha! No my toddler loves them too :D

  3. Still a staple in our lunchboxes for school! I have now halved the oil and use applesauce for the other half. I also half the honey and brown sugar, and add a really ripe banana. I always make a double batch so there are some for the freezer to take out! Like the idea of adding chai as some suggested above – next time!

  4. I’m going to make these, but do you think coconut sugar can be used instead of brown sugar? Did you ever make them with a different type of oil?

  5. my kid loves these. I subbed some chia, hemp, sesame and sunflower seeds in place of 1/4 cup of the flour and threw in a couple tempting mini choc. chips. awesome. thanks.

  6. I made these last week and they were all gone within 4 days (my boyfriend and his colleagues absolutely loved them). I did add more honey (1.5x more honey), 1/4cup of chia seeds and substituted the flour for an equivalent amount of almond meal with 1/4tsp of xantham gum. They were very limp but terribly delicious. I think I’ll add less honey next time.

  7. Pingback: A giant list of DIY recipes: maybe you’ll find a new thing to make? >> a peek inside the fishbowl

  8. Just put these in the oven – can’t wait to try them! I was looking for a nut free granola bar recipe and voila this was one of the top google results! I substituted 1/2 a banana for the egg as a girl in my son’s class has severe egg allergies – so hopefully they still stick together okay! If they do, I’ll definitely change up some of the oil for applesauce next time, just didn’t want to tinker more with the liquids first time around. I will try reducing the sugar as well, as the batter was delicious but I think could do with less sugar and you wouldn’t miss it at all!

  9. Hi there! Just wanted to say that I was happy to find this recipe..I’m not much of a baker, and I attempted to make this one with my step kids today, and after a long 30 mins abbi (4 year old) got to have the first bite..and immediatley spit it out on the floor!
    I tried a bite, and it was so incredibly salty I had to spit it out as well….I looked back at the recipe online and compared it to the one I wrote out by hand ..and came up with a MAJOR error. I added 3/4 CUP of sea salt, as opposed to 3/4 Tsp. now it’s back to the store for more rolled oats, and back to the mixing bowl for round 2!!!!

  10. AMAZING! i didnt use wheat germ because we couldnt find it at our local grocery store and they turned out fine! i used craisins in the place of raisins and they were soooooo good!

  11. I’ve searched for healthy homemade granola bars twice in the past month or two and found and chosen this recipe both times. They’re yummy and great! Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. These were great! I didn’t have wheat germ so I added some oat bran n a lil more ground flax,I only used half the flour and half the oil.. n replaced with Applesauce. Added almonds sunflower seeds pumpkin seeds n raisins n cranberries! So good n a healthy filling snack :) thanks so much for sharing!

  13. These look great! I need a dairy-free, gluten-free snack for my son – will try these with rice or other GF flour, and perhaps almond meal instead of wheat germ.

    Just a note about flax seed. Our bodies can’t digest whole flax seed, from what I understand. This is why they need to be milled.

  14. Thank you for this recipe, I have been sharing it with friends and with all good results!

    Its easy to make and my kids love it, they choose different things to go in it, and we use different sprinkles (just a little makes it more fun for them) to tell what kind is what!

    Also it helps the budget, we buy everything in bulk!

  15. ^Kel: yup! look on the packaging of every ingredient that you used and just do the math for the amount you used.

    But honestly, because you are in control of what you are putting INTO the granola bars, I’m sure the “nutritional value” isn’t really necessary… juss sayin’.


    thanks for the awesome recipe! although I haven’t made these yet but I can tell they are going to be great! I will be making them this weekend, they look delicious. =)

  16. I made these but did not have the flour called for so I subbed in whole wheat flour and they still turned out great – my family is all over them and they will be a lunch box hit for sure.

    I am thankful for your tip to take them out a bit early if you want to slice them and have them stay a bit chewy. I am very happy with the result and posted the photo for my facebook friends, and now some of my friends will be trying them too!

  17. I have been making these bars for a couple of months now, I totally love them, and so does my 3 year old. He also loves making them with me…so they are just awesome all the way around. I have never made them the same way twice, but one thing I love to do is put half coconut oil and half veg oil, and then about a third of a cup of coconut. MMMM. Thanks for this great recipe!

  18. So I baked, cut, cooled, fed them to children and other moms and everyone’s reaction was unanimous “om nom nom nom nom nom nom… huh?… nom nom nom” :) Oh, and “can I have more please?”

  19. This recipe is currently baking in my oven. :) The house smells delicious!!! I threw in a little more cinnamon and a few more raisins. Omitted the cranberries, as I do not have any and I threw in some bran for good fibre measures. :) I look forward to eating one soon!!!

  20. I’ve been making these granola bars since I found the recipe 2 years ago! They’re great!

    A few mods that I make:
    -all fruit sauce in replace of oil (apple or any fruit combo works great)
    -Decrease the flour to 2 tablespoons
    -Add 2 tablespoons of Cocoa
    -Add coconut or whatever other nuts I have!
    -about half the amount of sugar, often I use Agave

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  21. I love that there’s all these options and variations on the original recipe! I just popped into the oven a double batch of “my version” – which, if they work out, I’ll have to dub “kitchen-sink granola bars” due to the crazy stuff I put in there to accommodate NOT having to go again to the grocery store! :)
    the “batter” tasted good when I was done, though!
    used some ground nuts and nut-butter, as I don’t have the kid/school/allergy thing to consider, and subbed some apple sauce in for oil, added molasses and an extra egg, very little brown sugar but with the raisins and craisins (not flavoured ones) – and some coconut I found, not enough for any other recipe – throw it in! – it definitely didn’t seem to be lacking in sweetness.
    thanks, all, for sharing your variations – this one’s a keeper!