Healthy banana cookies are decadent enough to be an after dinner dessert, but nutritious enough to enjoy for breakfast. This sugar free after school snack is packed with whole grains, healthy fats, and fruit – perfect for a nutritious treat or part of a quick breakfast on the go. Kids love that they’re sweet and look like cookies, moms love that they are serving a better for you treat without the hassle. Next time you’re looking to make a simple, tasty treat you can feel good about it, these banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies will hit the spot.
Do you know what’s the cutest thing to hear in the world?
A 2 year old saying ‘cookie’. Right now when Owen says it, it sounds something like “KEE-KEE” and you guys. Heart melting.
And, you know what’s undeniably LESS cute?
A 2 year old saying “KEE-KEE” over and over and over and over and crying and screaming, because he’s 2 and doesn’t quite get that cookies aren’t a breakfast food.
Add in an almost 4 year old also wondering aloud why cookies aren’t a good breakfast for kids and you’ve got at least one, mind melting morning in my house each week.
I’m all for letting kids indulge and I’m definitely not anti sugar and or sweets, but I tend to draw the line at cookies before noon. (now, donuts – those are fine, because breakfast food. Especially if you’re serving up healthy donuts!)
Enter: healthy banana cookies!
Thankfully, another thing I’ve learned as a mother is that life is made of compromises. So after one particularly rough morning – okay, we were out of coffee and I was noooottt in the mood – I spied a stack of bananas nearing the freezer stage of their life and I decided to just go for it.
I mixed up some random stuff together, crossed my fingers annnd…. cookies I could approve for breakfast came to life.
These healthy banana cookies are the perfect treat – sugar free, full of whole grains, fruit, and healthy fats. You can release the mom guilt and serve them for breakfast.
Tips for making healthy banana cookies:
- Use a crazy ripe banana. The riper the banana, the more sugar it has. We buy tons of bananas a week and I just freeze any that start to get into questionable territory, saving them for cookies, banana bread, and, of course, veggie smoothies.
- You can use all honey or all maple syrup for this. I like to mix it up and use both because why not. Remember that babies under 1 cannot eat honey, so if you plan on serving to that crowd, use all maple syrup.
- The first time I made these, I used peanut butter. Next time, I actually forgot it and they came out just as good – a bit fluffier, if anything. Feel free to use or omit the nut butter. You can also use a seed butter to avoid nut allergies.
- Use any combination of nuts and chips you’d like – you can completely leave the nuts and chocolate chips out, or stick to dark chocolate. I’ve used sliced almonds, cashews, and walnuts in this before and all are delicious. Raisins would be just as good!
- For easy portioning, use a small cookie scoop to get the batter to a cookie sheet. If you don’t have one, just scoop with 2 spoons, as the batter is sticky.
Guide to substitution:
Make your healthy banana cookies fit your family’s diet by using some substitutions. The best part is how versatile this recipe is!
- Nut butter: you can use any nut butter you’d like – sunflower seed butter to make it nut free and school safe, almond butter, cashew butter, or omit all together. Omitting will make it a fluffier cookie. Just note any added sweeteners in your nut butter when making your decision!
- Chocolate: you can omit, use dark chocolate for reduced sugar, or use a vegan variety to make it dairy free. Cacao nibs would also be a fun, nutrition packed option. Mini m&ms would also be a fun substitution.
- Butter: use coconut oil to make dairy free. Just melt it down the same way you would with butter.
- Gluten: Use certified Gluten Free oats to make sure these cookies are GF.
- Mix ins: Omit any nuts (or use whatever kind you like) for seeds or another favorite mix in, or leave them out all together. Try chopped dried fruit or mini candies!
- Sweetener: Use all maple or all honey as desired, or sub for agave.
You may need….
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I love using cookie scoops to help with everything from portioning cookies to meatballs. This one from OXO is my favorite and makes the perfect sized cookies.
While these healthy banana cookies are not totally without any kind of sugar, they are refined sugar free – the sweetness comes from maple syrup and/or honey and a caramelized banana. To keep it totally refined sugar free, nix the chocolate chips. I used 60% bittersweet chips from Ghiradelli since that’s what we always have on hand and I found them to be the perfect balance of chocolatey goodness and maintaining a semblance of healthfulness.
Want to get the kids involved?
This is a very kid friendly recipe. Do the butter and banana yourself, but everything else from measuring to stirring to portioning can be done by the kids! Encourage them to count out measurements and roll the cookies.
Try grating some zucchini or adding a 1/4 or so of vegetable puree. You may need a bit more oats (you could also just add 1-2 tablespoons of oat flour to thicken it up) if using puree. Grated veggies will add moisture, not make the dough unmanageable, so no additions should be needed here.
Healthy Banana Cookies
Healthy banana cookies are the perfect healthy treat to serve up to your kids – these banana cookies are good enough to serve to picky eaters for breakfast, packed with fruit, whole grains, and healthy fats.
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Healthy Banana Cookies
- .5 cup maple syrup or honey
- .25 cup nut butter optional
- 1 large ripe banana
- .25 butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- .5 teaspoon baking soda
- .5 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- 3 cups of rolled oats divided
- 1 cup of chocolate chips optional
- .75 cup of nuts optional
Pulverize 2 cups of oats in the food processor to create oat flour. Add in baking soda and powder and salt and pulse to combine.
Add in nuts, chips, and last cup of oats and pulse 5-10 times to break them up.
In a pan, melt butter and banana together. Smash as you go until it's pretty smooth.
Remove from heat once warm and smooth and add the nut butter (if using). Add in your egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth before adding to your dry mix. Stir well until totally combined.
Scoop into tablespoon sized mounds into a greased or lined cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool about 5 minutes on the tray before removing.
- Nuts and chocolate chips are optional, as is the nut butter. Using the nut butter will result in a denser, more rich cookie.
- Feel free to substitute coconut oil for the butter to make this recipe dairy free.
- This is probably the only cookie that I will tell you tastes even better the next day after it cools. The exterior gets a bit softer and chewier and so amazing.
Okay so tell me- how do you stay sane when it’s cold out? Do you like the dead of winter or the height of summer better? Let me know in the comments
Got a picky eater?
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Grab the Outsmart your Picky Eater cheat sheets to get the inside scoop on how to add veggies to food your kids already love.