Cereal Bars

by | Jun 28, 2022

Cereal bars are the perfect snack or healthy dessert. Plus, all you need is 6 simple ingredients found in your pantry. Vegan, kid-friendly and great for summertime!

Bars made with cereal, peanut butter, and protein powder

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What are cereal bars?

When you hear the term “cereal bars” you probably think of rice krispie treats or cinnamon toast crunch bars. These store bought bars are typically filled with tons of added sugar and processed ingredients.

Instead, you can use this recipe to make your own healthier version with just a few nourishing ingredients! These cereal bars contain no marshmallows, making them vegan-friendly. 

Is cereal healthy?

There’s so many cereal options nowadays, it can be pretty overwhelming to know what to look for. As a dietitian, here’s some things to check on the nutrition label:

  • Added sugar: Aim to keep this number as low as possible (less than 10 grams per serving)
  • Fiber: Aim for a high amount (at least 5 grams per serving). Getting enough fiber and whole grains allows us to feel fuller longer and reduces our risk for disease.
  • Protein: Aim for a high amount (at least 5 grams per serving). You can also pump up the protein by adding over a protein-filled milk like dairy milk or soy milk.
Cereal bars stacked up

How do you make cereal bars?

These bars come together in no time! Gather your ingredients from the pantry and go through the following steps:

  1. Mix everything together. You want to make sure the cereal is evenly coated with the nut butter, sweetener, and protein powder.
  2. Drizzle over chocolate. This recipe calls for just 1/2 cup of melted dark chocolate to give the bars a light coating. If you want a more defined chocolate layer on top, bump it up to 1 cup melted dark chocolate. You can also stir in the melted chocolate with the cereal mixture before pressing into the pan for a more even chocolate flavor throughout.
  3. Freeze until set. Freezing helps the nut butter and chocolate solidify. You might be able to get away with 20 minutes, but to avoid any mess I like to let it freeze for 1 hour.
  4. Cut into bars. Carefully lift out the parchment paper before cutting into bars. To create 9 evenly shaped bars, use a knife to cut 2 lines down vertically and then 2 lines across horizontally.

What cereal should I use to make these bars?

This is where you get to have some fun! Feel free to use any cereal of your choice. Here are some of my personal, better-for-you favorites:

Feel free to also use childhood classics like Fruit Loops, Reese’s Puffs, Or Apple Jack’s.

Customize it your way

My recipes are all about allowing you to have fun and choose ingredients of your choice! Hence the name, Cheerful Choices. In addition to customizing the cereal, you also get to pick your favorites for the following ingredients:

  • Nut Butter of your choice: Customize with peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or another fave nut butter. If you’re allergic to nuts, you can even sub for a seed butter like watermelon seed butter, pumpkin seed butter, or chickpea butter.
  • Liquid Sweetener of your choice: Date syrup, honey, agave, or maple syrup all work great here. If your honey is hard, be sure to melt it before adding.
  • Protein Powder of your choice: Feel free to use a whey powder or a vegan variety if desired.
Cereal bars on a white plate

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In my coaching + cooking program, I help busy people with beginner cooking knowledge become confident in the kitchen so that they can enjoy nourishing foods they love and stress less about mealtime. Click here to learn more about this virtual program led by a dietitian.

Macro shot of chocolate covered bar
Cereal Bars 4 crop scaled

Cereal Bars

Mackenzie Burgess, RDN
Cereal bars are the perfect snack or healthy dessert. Plus, all you need is 6 simple ingredients found in your pantry!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 9 (2-inch) bars
Calories 230 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups dry cereal of your choice (see recommended options linked above)
  • 1/2 cup creamy nut butter of choice, melted if needed to reach pourable consistency (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc.)
  • 3 tablespoons liquid sweetener of choice (date syrup, melted honey, agave, or maple syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla protein powder, whey or vegan variety
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, stir together cereal, nut butter, sweetener, and protein powder until everything is combined and cereal is evenly coated. If you notice your mixture is crumbly, add a small amount more of liquid sweetener.
  • Line a 8×8” glass pan with parchment paper, then press over cereal mixture. 
  • In a separate small bowl, combine chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time until melted. Drizzle chocolate evenly over cereal, then freeze for 1 hour to set.
  • Remove the pan from the freezer and lift out parchment paper. Use a knife to cut into 9 square bars.
  • Store cereal bars in the fridge for up to 1 week or the freezer for up to 3 months.

Video

Notes

Note: This recipe calls for just 1/2 cup of melted dark chocolate to give the bars a light coating. If you want a more defined chocolate layer on top, bump it up to 1 cup melted dark chocolate. 
Instead of adding the chocolate afterwards, you can also choose to gently mix in the melted chocolate in Step #1 with the cereal mixture before pressing into a pan. This will give the bars a more even chocolate flavor throughout rather than a drizzle over chocolate feel. It really just depends on what you like best!

Nutrition

Serving: 1barCalories: 230kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 10gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 70mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9g
Tried this recipe?Tag us @cheerfulchoices and let us know how it was!

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Cereal bars are the perfect snack or healthy dessert. Customize with your favorite ingredients. Vegan, kid-friendly and great for summer!

Want more? Try these other sweet snack recipes:

Hi, I'm Mackenzie...

nice to meet you!

I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and recipe developer. I create simple recipes with customizable ingredients “of your choice.” I also help busy people gain kitchen confidence through my hands-on program.

Need more hands-on help?

In my coaching + cooking program, I help busy people with beginner cooking knowledge become confident in the kitchen. Click here to learn more about this virtual program with a dietitian!

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5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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