These healthy flapjacks are free from refined sugar and are perfect for kids. They make great picnic or lunchbox fillers, or a healthy dessert for small people.
What are flapjacks?
Wikipedia goes into some detail about the difference between a flapjack, a cereal bar and a granola bar in various places in the world.
Now in some parts of the United States a flapjack refers to a pancake. This is not that kind of flapjack.
All you need really need to know is that a flapjack - as we know it here in the UK - is an oat based bar. They're usually square, sometimes rectangular, and contain dried fruits. Flapjacks should be chewy.
Flapjacks look deceptively healthy but they're not really a healthy snack option. Yes oats are good for you but your average flapjack is made with bucketloads of butter, sugar and golden syrup. Tastes fantastic but not necessarily a healthy snack - especially for children.
How do you make healthy flapjacks?
I wanted to recreate a chewy flapjack for my kids that had a lot less sugar in it than a traditional recipe. In the process I tried many different variations on this recipe. This healthy flapjacks recipe is the best I've come up with.
It's a very flexible flapjack recipe. I've used apple, dried fruit and a little maple syrup or honey to sweeten it - and that's it for sugar.
Remember that babies under one shouldn't have honey. Honey can contain a toxin which leads to a disease called infant botulism - so use maple syrup if you have a baby. You can use whichever dried fruit you prefer and sub orange juice and zest for the lemon if you fancy a different flavour.
Now I'm typing this I'm thinking about lime zest - now that would make a wonderful tropical flapjack. However, I digress.
How to get healthier flapjacks to stick together
Without the oodles of butter and golden syrup it is trickier to get the ingredients to hold together.
However, the key to getting healthier flapjacks to stick together properly, and remain chewy, is to pulse them slightly in a food processor or high speed blender.
I've tried making these healthy flapjacks without processing them but they don't stick together well enough - think granola rather than flapjack. Not a success at any rate.
The dried fruit you use also makes a difference. Dates - particularly sticky medjool dates - work best. I've used raisins here however, to keep the costs down. If you think your fruit is a little dry you can soak it in hot water for 10 minutes before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
You will also need to mix the dry ingredients really well with the melted oil or butter and press down firmly into the tin before baking.
My kids love these healthy flapjacks and I love that they're getting an energy-filled snack without too much added sugar.
These are perfect for taking along as an after-school snack and they're nut free so perfect for popping in a lunchbox too.
They're chewy but soft enough for baby teeth to manage so these flapjacks would be ideal for baby led weaning too.
If you're looking for vegan flapjacks simply use dairy free spread or oil and use maple syrup in place of honey.
The dad to the two little Rs likes these even more than they do, meaning that they always disappear in a flash in our house.
Other healthy bakes that you might like
- No bake healthy cereal bars
- Naturally sweetened apple flapjacks
- Carrot, banana and date cake
- Peanut butter, banana and blueberry cookies
- Chocolate beetroot brownies
- Healthy gingerbread muffins
- Cherry bars
- Apple and cinnamon cookies
- Blueberry and banana porridge bars
- Healthy pumpkin muffins with sweet potato frosting
- Date flapjacks
- Chocolate banana flapjacks
- Raspberry bars
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How to make healthy flapjacks for kids:
If you have made this recipe I would love it if you’d leave a comment and rating below. Thank you!
Healthy flapjacks for kids
- 200 g oats
- 150 g dates chopped, you could also use raisins, chopped apricots or other dried fruit
- 40 g desiccated coconut or chopped seeds eg sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- 1 lemon zested
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 apple grated (peeling is optional)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave syrup or honey (remember no honey for under ones)
- 100 g butter Or dairy free spread, sunflower oil or coconut oil or a mix of the two
- Preheat the oven to 180°C(fan)/200°C/gas mark 6. Grease a 20cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.
- Place 200g oats, 150g chopped dates or raisins, 40g desiccated coconut, juice of half a lemon, zest of a whole lemon and one grated apple into a food processor or high powered blender. Pulse until broken down and well combined. Set aside.
- Place 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup with 100g of butter or oil into a medium saucepan and heat gently until melted.
- Scrape the oat and raisin mixture into the saucepan and stir well. Make sure that all the dry mixture is completely coated in the oil or butter mixture.
- Pour into the prepared tin and use a rubber spatula to press into the tin. Make sure that you press down really well as this will help the flapjacks hold together. To be really sure they're pressed down well you could lay a sheet of baking paper over the top and use the side of a glass or small rolling pin to press down the mixture.
- Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes until starting to turn brown.
- Remove from the oven and cut into slices in the tin using a sharp knife. Leave to cool completely in the tin then cut again before removing from the tin.
Check out my healthy lunchbox ideas and tips
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?
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Thanks to my friend Sarah for giving me the idea for these in the first place, and sharing her recipe (which I've slightly altered).
Just about to try and make these for my 3 year old. Just wondering how long will they keep in the fridge 🙂
Hi Karen, hope you enjoy them. They'll easily keep for at least 3 days in the fridge, probably longer. And they freeze well too.
I made these and used what I had , seeds and dried cranberries instead of dessicated coconut. They are delish , will def make again , thank you 😊
Hi Zanni - sounds delicious, glad you enjoyed
I’ve made these many times now and they are absolutely delicious! Sometimes I make them with orange juice and zest instead of lemon, and also works really well!
So glad you love them Lindsay!
Thanks for this recipe tried it yesterday and the flapjacks were the moistest/chewier the I have ever made. Taste great and this recipe will be my flapjack bake from now on.
So glad you enjoyed them so much Steve
Really tasty, my son loved them. Very easy to follow the recipe.
So glad to hear that Sandra
These flapjacks were really easy to make and tasted great! I love making healthier treats for the children - and ourselves 😉 and these were a winner 👍🏻
So glad you enjoyed them Jo!
I’m trying to find recipes for my daughter who is allergic to egg, dairy and oats. Do you think I could try buckwheat flakes instead of oats? Also, do you think a peanut butter flavoured one would work? I’d love to add some protein into her snacks.
Hi Gwenllian - I think buckwheat oats would work fine. I'm also pretty sure that you could add in some peanut butter but I haven't tried this - although I will add peanut butter flapjacks to my list of recipes to try out! You might like this recipe too: https://www.sneakyveg.com/chickpea-and-peanut-butter-blondies/
Hi, I’ve just made this recipe but replaced oats with rice flakes and they’ve turned really well. Oh I also used butter so that might have helped bind the rice flakes better than marg/oil. Worth a try.
Great to know that it works with rice flakes too - glad you enjoyed them
Can’t wait to try these! I would like to double the recipe and make it in a larger tray. Do you think I need to increase the baking time? Thanks!
Hi Meg, yes you will need to increase the baking time. I would increase by five minutes then check and put in for another five-ten minutes if needed.
Why does this recipe need so much lemon juice. Or any lemon juice ? I'm confused.
Mainly just for flavour - it can also help to stop the apple from browning before it goes in the oven
My sweet-toothed family (and extremely cautious husband when it comes to anything vegan...) highly approves of these, so thank you so much for this! Could you tell me whether the calorie count is for 100g or the whole thing please? We’re trying to watch ours lately.
Thanks and have a lovely Spring!💚
Glad you enjoyed them! The calorie count is for one flapjack, assuming you cut it into nine portions.
Wow that was fast! Thanks Mandy! 🙂
These are absolutely delicious! We were naughty and added a few choc chips, but they would still have been really yummy without. I’ve been looking for a healthy flapjack recipe for ages, this one is a winner!
Thanks so much Jessie - chocolate chips sounds like a wonderful addition!
Fab recipe. So quick and easy and taste delicious! Brilliant for toddlers and babyled weaning as there's no added sugar. Thank you!
Thanks so much Emma - I'm so happy that you enjoyed them!
So happy to have found a healthy (yet uncompromisingly tasty) flapjack recipe that doesn’t crumble into dust! This will be the go to flapjack recipe in my household from now on! Can’t wait to try more 🙂
Thanks so much Lana! I am so happy to hear that you loved these flapjacks!
I love, love, love this recipe! Have made it many times now, and only wait for an excuse to make some again (I'm making a batch soon to take to my son's childcare for all the adults and kids to eat. Lol!). Thank you very much for posting such an awesome, healthy recipe. The only changes I make are to use 2 apples instead of one, no honey/maple syrup, and only 40ml rapeseed oil (instead of the 100gm butter). My kids, and whoever else has tasted these, enjoy eating them.
So glad you love them Jolene!
I have not tried them myself as I made them for my mum but they look absolutely amazing and one of the first flapjack recipes I made that have not fallen apart
Hi Hannah - hope your mum likes them!
Hi Mandy, looking forward to making these for our camping weekend away. I'm just wondering if they can be made ahead and frozen? Thanks
Hi Danielle, Yes I have frozen them before - pop a bit of baking paper between them to stop them sticking together. Hope you enjoy them
I was sceptical but these are absolutely delicious. I'd love to know energy/calorific value too please.
So glad you enjoyed them - I have just added nutritional values to this recipe - please remember that the sugars are natural sugars in this recipe.
Made these with my 2.5 year old and we both love them.
Thanks for a great recipe!
So glad you both loved them Emilie!
Love this recipe! Made these and they are amazing!
Do you have any idea how many calories are in them at all?
Thank you xx
Hi Kelly, so glad you enjoyed them! I don't have the nutrition calculation set up yet but I'll try to get to it soon and let you know. Thanks, Mandy
Hi Kelly I have just added nutritional values to this recipe - please remember that the sugars are natural sugars in this recipe.
My entire family loved these! I used 100g of chopped dates and 50g of mixed dried fruit, and "baking spread" which is dairy free (although not advertised as such). Used a small stick blender to blend it in a bowl.
Personally I'd add another tablespoon of maple syrup as I have a very sweet tooth but really they're lovely as the recipe states!
I'm so happy to hear that you loved them Kay - and yes, they can easily be adapted to be sweeter if you prefer. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.
I made these with my 3 year old this morning and they're amazing! I didn't use butter as my 10 month old has a dairy allergy so I used sunflower oil and maple syrup. I soaked the raisins as suggested first and they worked perfectly. I've been looking for a healthier flapjack for a while and these were perfect. My son is allergic to bananas and it is very hard to find good recipes that don't use bananas as a sweetener. I'll definitely be making these again as they're a hit with the whole family
Hi Darina - I'm so happy to hear that you loved them! Glad I was able to help with a dairy free and banana free recipe x
Really tasty and really easy to make with my toddler. Delicious and great that there's no added sugar! Thanks Sneaky Veg!
Thanks so much Emma - so happy that you enjoyed the flapjacks!
Just having a go, but using mashed very ripe banana to stick it together, with a little golden syrup for flavour, pressed well into the pan, no blitzing, let’s see, smells delicious.
Hope it works for you – let me know!
Glad you liked them!
Worked really well here! And very fussy toddler seemeed to enjoy them. Just wondering if they are freezable? Good to have a supply on hand but they might be eaten before the reach the freezer!
Hi Hannah - so glad you liked them! I think you could freeze them but either freeze them on a tray for an hour first or place a bit of baking paper between each one or they'll stick together.
Could you substitute honey/sugar for Blue Agave? Have you tried it with Blue Agave? Would sing the Blue Agave work? If you have not tried this I might just give it a go and see what happens.
I haven’t tried it with agave but I think it would work fine - let me know if you try it
We’ve just made these for the second time and licking what was in the bowl was a privilege! Cannot wait to get them out. We don’t generally keep maple syrup in so we’ve used ‘Clarks date syrup’ and an ellas kitchen prune sachet. It came together really well. Maybe more sticky than your traditional flapjack but still a great tasty and healthy snack for all the family! Thank you!
So happy to hear that Joanne - I think the date syrup is probably making it extra sticky but I bet it is delicious!
I must admit I was sceptical about healthy flapjacks, but these are really yummy! Obviously not as sweet as usual flapjacks but really tasty. I used lime juice/zest, a few chopped apricots in with the raisins and half butter/half oil and it came out really well. I can imagine these becoming a staple snack for my two year old and me.
Thanks so much Jo - really happy that you enjoyed them and must try the lime version myself!
These are so tasty but mine didn't stick together. I used maple syrup so don't know whether honey might have been better? Any suggestions as the kids love the flavour of these so would love to make them again! Thanks so much!
Hi Lucy, so sorry to hear they didn't stick together. I've made them with maple syrup lots of times before so I don't think that should be a problem. Did you process them in a blender or food processor?
I have the same problem as Lucy above.
Followed the recipe to a t, but they’re not at all holding together and it’s just one crumbly mess. I used honey...
Love the taste too, b wondering if golden syrup is just much stickier?? But obviously not so healthy...
Any tips would be much appreciated.
Hi Marianne - I'm so sorry to hear that. I can't think what is going wrong as I have made these many, many times without a problem. Did you use a blender or food processor to break the mixture down first?
I used honey instead of syrup and initially it didn't stick together. It needs to cool down completely before cutting and mine stuck together fine and I didn't blend the ingredients in advance so it was a chunkier version. Maybe it's just too warm before cutting it into pieces?
Hi Rhoda, I've always found it works better to process first but glad yours stuck together in the end.
They look really lovely! I need to make some healthier flapjacks for my children too. They've been complaining that I haven't been making enough homemade snacks recently!
It's so easy to get out of the habit isn't it? I try to batch cook for the freezer so I always have a supply but we're running low at the moment.
Such a useful recipes for the little ones - get the kids involved too I hope 🙂
Of course - I can't keep them away
I think it is great to make something healthy that kids will love!
Good point about the sugar in flapjacks. I use less in mine than you'll find in most recipes, but there's still quite a bit. I'm trying to cut down on sugar this year as I eat far too much of it, so I might just give these a go - and pulse them.
Let me know what you think Choclette
I love "chewy" bars and these look so good. Now in America flapjack refers more to pancakes. I love to see these differences.
Ah I didn't know that - so funny. Our biscuits are different to yours as well!
Mandy..These are yummy x
Thanks Dimple! X
Hi! Loved your healthy flapjack recipe. I adapted it to what I had ready to go in the pantry and fruit bowl (getting to the shops with newborn & toddler is harder than I expected). Here is what I came up with (including credit to your blog for inspiration) 🙂 Simone
Thanks so much! Really glad you enjoyed them and good to know that pear works, I am yet to get either of mine to eat pear so I'll try this at some point. Good luck getting used to life with two! X
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