Healthy Cherry Oatmeal Bars are a low calorie, gluten free dessert recipe made low sugar with high fiber oats. A yummy, low calorie treat that's easy to make and dairy free! Gluten Free + Low Calorie + Vegan
These Healthy Cherry Oatmeal Bars are perfect for people who have a sweet tooth, but want to eat healthy and are calorie conscious. They're made with minimal ingredients like oats, oat flour, cherries, applesauce and maple syrup. Plus they have a delicious cherry jam for good measure!
Healthy Cherry Oatmeal Bars
Most cherry bars are loaded with refined flours, refined sugars and the not so optimal fat. These bars are made better for you and healthier with just a few simple swaps. Easy and delicious!
What Makes These Cherry Oatmeal Bars Low Calorie
What makes this cherry bar recipe healthy? Here's a few reasons why they are better for you!
- Low Calorie - Each bar is 157 calories. This is considered low calorie and remember calories are not everything. The nutrition that makes up a calorie number is very important and I work hard to balance the nutrients in all my recipes to keep the nutrient density high while keeping the calories low.
- Gluten Free - These bars are naturally gluten free.
- Lower Sugar - This recipe uses very little added sugar from maple syrup. The rest comes from unsweetened applesauce and monkfruit (one of my favorite zero calorie sweeteners!). The natural sugar from the cherries and oats is balanced in fiber and has nutrients!
- High Fiber - This recipe has 3 grams of fiber per bar which is GREAT for a dessert recipe. The cherries and oats are higher fiber which is important for hormonal weight loss which I discuss in this free class.
- Healthy Fat - This recipe has 6 grams of fat total. One gram comes from saturated fat (less optimal) and the rest comes from monounsaturated which is heart healthy from the olive oil.
- Higher Protein - Each bar has 3 grams of protein. Higher protein is difficult to achieve in low calorie dessert recipes so 3 is good!
Ingredients For Cherry Bars Made With Oats
- Gluten Free Oat Flour
- Gluten Free Rolled Oats
- Maple Syrup
- Unsweetened Applesauce
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Baking Soda
- Cherries, frozen is what I used
- Chia Seeds
How To Make Gluten Free Cherry Bars
Making cherry oatmeal bars is easy. Start by preheating the oven to 325 F and preparing an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. I use parchment paper instead of cooking spray as cooking spray has calories and it can really add up!
Next make the 'cherry jam' by cooking the cherries, chia seeds and monkfruit in a saucepan. You will need to mash the cherries as they cook until it resembles a jam-like texture. Then set it aside and allow it to cool while you make the bar mixture.
Combine the oats, oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Then add the applesauce, extra virgin olive oil and maple syrup. Combine until the dry ingredients are absorbed by the liquid. If you need more liquid, I recommend adding a teaspoon of water at a time until it combines.
Reserve a 1/2 cup of the flour mixture and set aside. Press the flour mixture into the prepared baking pan then spread the cherry jam over the top. Add the reserved flour mixture to the top little by little to resemble a crumble.
Bake for 30 minutes then remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing and enjoying! I recommend storing the cherry bars in the refrigerator in a sealed container up to one week. These bars can be frozen, although the bar mixture may get crumbly once thawed.
Substitutions For The BEST Cherry Bars
Here are the substitutions I recommend for this recipe. As always, remember that anything you substitute and change will alter the nutritional values you see in the recipe.
- Oats - You can you use oat flour (1 cup instead of 1 1/2) to replace the oats but note, you won't have a real crumble on top. You can use regular oats if gluten free is not a concern for you.
- Oat Flour - I have only tested this recipe using oat flour. For a Paleo version, I recommend this crumb bar recipe. Coconut flour will not work and I never use white or whole wheat flours so I cannot say how they will work. You can use regular oats if gluten free is not a concern for you.
- Maple Syrup - You can replace with a zero calorie liquid sweetener if you like or honey. Only using applesauce as the sweetener will not work as the bar mixture needs some stickiness from a liquid sweetener to hold together.
- Cinnamon - Can be omitted if you like.
- Cherries - Any fruit will work. I recommend using frozen fruit then thawing and before making the jam.
Healthy Cherry Oatmeal Bars
For the bars:
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cherries, monkfruit and chia seeds. Cook 10 minutes, stirring and breaking down the cherries to mash them until they become a jam like texture. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the gluten free oats, gluten free flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
- Add the maple syrup, applesauce and extra virgin olive oil and stir to combine. The mixture should stick together. If you need more liquid, add a bit of water until it combines fully.
- Set aside a 1/2 cup of the mixture. Transfer the remaining mixture to the prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Top the mixture with the cherry jam then drop the 1/2 cup of reserved oat mixture on top of the jam like a crumble.
- Bake for 30 mminutes then cool completely before slicing into 12 bars. Store the bars in the refrigerator up to 7 days.