Banana Oatmeal Bars: A Fast, Easy, Healthy Breakfast

'Tis the season to be hectic. 
I don't know about you, but amid all of the awesomeness of the holiday season, I'm just pooped. Truth be told, my husband and I are relieved when the kids want cereal with milk and a banana or toast with a banana for breakfast these days. My kiddos choose their breakfasts and lunches in advance, which certainly makes things easier for me because I don't have the added stress of thinking about what to serve (let alone dealing with an argument about it). That said, I still have to prepare and serve those meals and unfortunately, there are no holiday fairies that take care of that for me. 

It's times like these that make Banana Oatmeal Bars so very amazing. 

LaLa Lunchbox banana oatmeal bars

These things are so easy to make, my kids do it themselves now, which frankly is one of the greatest holiday gifts ever. One batch makes 9 bars in our house – but it can make 16 more if you cut them smaller. My kids generally eat two apiece with breakfast. With just four ingredients, they're simple to prepare, quick to serve, and full of healthy goodness. Trifecta! In fact, putting two of these on a plate with some fruit is even easier than serving a bowl of cereal with milk. These bars also make for wonderful snacks! They're dairy free, gluten free, vegan and naturally sweet thanks to those super ripe bananas. 

Download the image below and add it to your LaLa Breakfast Food Library and/or your LaLa Lunchbox Food Library so that your mornings are just a teensy bit easier. Feel free to reach out with any questions you might have about that. 

Banana Oatmeal Bars

LaLa Lunchbox banana oatmeal bar ingredients

3 super ripe (aka brown) bananas
2 cups of rolled oats (not instant)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
* optional: 1/2 cup of one of these: dried cranberries, raisins, nuts, pumpkin seeds or chocolate chips

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8 dish with parchment paper.
2. In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas until they are smooth.
3. Add the oats and mix to combine.
4. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
5. Pour into baking dish. Bake for 25-28 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy.

Here are some other recipes you might like: 
Banana Sweet Potato Muffins
Banjo Muffins
Oatmeal Muffins
Banana Pancake Kebabs

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Brazilian Farmer's Markets

Small in size but sizable in impact, these markets move from neighborhood to neighborhood in Rio during the week. Brazil has several different varieties of banana and we tried all of them. The kids loved the 'golden bananas' best -- tiny bananas that are sweet and not starchy. My husband preferred the apple bananas.

The mangoes we bought on our second visit were the best I have ever tasted and we all went nuts for the passion fruit, melon and fresh figs.