Low-sugar puppy chow (muddy buddies) made with dark chocolate, peanut butter, Chex cereal and powdered monk fruit. This healthier puppy chow recipe is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and much lower in sugar than your traditional recipe.

Small glass container healthy low-sugar puppy chow (muddy buddies)

Whether you call this sweet chocolatey-peanut butter treat puppy chow or muddy buddies, it’s a classic sweet treat that also crazy addictive. The classic puppy chow recipe includes crunchy Chex cereal coated in a melty chocolate-peanut-butter blend (often with butter) then tossed in a heavy layer of powdered sugar. Not exactly a health food by any means. But this recipe gives your classic puppy chow a bit of a healthy-ish makeover.

But a few intentional swaps makes this recipe slightly healthier and far lower in sugar than your traditional powdered sugar-covered chocolatey Chex. My low-sugar puppy chow recipe calls for equal amounts of chocolate chips to peanut butter, while nixing the butter all together. It uses a little less Chex cereal that your average recipe to ensure the cereal gets fully coated in the chocolate-peanut mixture. This all gets covered in powdered monk fruit. You get the same sweet taste and powdered covered fingers but without any added sugar.

If you’re looking for a nostalgic treat without the sugar crash, definitely give this healthy puppy chow recipe a try! Bring it to a holiday party, package it up as gifts or simply make it for yourself. Whichever you choose, it won’t last long!

close up of healthy low-sugar puppy chow (muddy buddies)

Ingredients in This healthy puppy chow

  • Rice cereal – Chex rice cereal will give you the most classic recipe. You can also opt for a more wholesome cereal brand if you’d like.
  • Dark chocolate – Opt for dark chocolate chips just make sure to read the label if you need vegan or dairy-free chocolate. I used Enjoy Life Foods dairy-free dark chocolate morsels. Hu baking Gems are another option. You could use a high quality chocolate bar.
  • Peanut Butter – you must just natural creamy peanut butter with no added oils or sugar. The only ingredient should be peanuts or peanut butter and salt. Need a peanut butter replacement? You can substitute any nut or seed butter just make sure there are no added oils, stabilizers, or added sugar.
  • Vanilla + Sea salt – for a little extra flavor and to help balance out the sweetness.
  • Powdered monk fruit – Powdered monk fruit replaces regular powdered sugar in this recipe to drastically lower the sugar content. I purchase mine from Whole Foods or Thrive Market, which is by far the best deal I’ve found.
healthy low-sugar puppy chow (muddy buddies) ingredients

What Makes This Puppy Chow Healthier?

Healthy puppy chow seems like a bit of an oxymoron. By no means would I consider puppy chow a health food in regards to nutrients. But it does cut back drastically on the amount of sugar, making it much lower in sugar than your traditional recipe. Each 1/2 cup serving only contains 5 grams of sugar compared to 18 grams per servings if you were to use regular powdered sugar. It also contains 4 grams of protein, which is a nice bonus.

Keep in mind, when it comes to sweet treats having a healthy relationship with food means allowing yourself to enjoy indulgent treats when you’d like. Sometimes this means opting for the real-deal no modifications and other times it means opting for a “healthier” or more nutrient dense choice because it better serves you at that point in time.

Is Monk Fruit Sweetener Healthy?

If you’ve never heard of monk fruit, it’s a natural sweetener made from the extracts of the monk fruit, as known as luo han guo. It’s is by far, my favorite sugar-free sweetener since it tastes most similar to regular sugar but without the blood sugar spike. Plus, unlike other sugar alternatives there’s no odd aftertaste.

A common misconception is that monk fruit is an an artificial sweetener. It’s not. It’s considered an all-natural sweetener with its sweet taste coming from antioxidants called mogrosides found in the fruit. When it comes to replacing sugar, there’s always controversy. I recommend doing what intuitively feels right for you. My take? Use monk fruit in moderation just as you would regular sugar. I often mix monk fruit with regular sugar so that my body still receives some of the sugar it’s anticipating when it tastes the sweetness.

bowl of healthy low-sugar puppy chow (muddy buddies)

How to make the best puppy chow?

Melt the chocolate and peanut butter together – warming up the peanut butter with the chocolate makes it much easier to mix into the cereal. While you can heat the peanut butter and chocolate up on the stove-top, make it easy on yourself and warm it up in the microwave. Once warmed, add the vanilla and sea salt.

Combine with the cereal – add 3 cups of cereal to a large bowl. Pour half of the chocolate-peanut butter mixture over the cereal. Add the remaining 2 cups of  cereal to the bowl and then pour the rest of the chocolate-peanut butter mixture on top. This helps evenly distribute the chocolate over the cereal. Gently stir and fold the cereal with a spoon until evenly coated.

chocolate-peanut butter mixture pouring onto Chex cereal
chocolate peanut butter covered chex cereal

Let cool slightly – if you want the powdered monk fruit to coat the outside without melting into the chocolate, patience is key!Let the coated cereal come to room temperature; about 10 minutes. You can stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to speed up the process.

Toss with powdered monk fruit – Once your mixture has cooled, transfer to a lidded container or airtight bag. Add the powdered monk fruit. Seal the container or bag and shake until your heart’s content! You can always add more powdered monk fruit if you feel your puppy chow needs more coating.

chocolate peanut butter covered chex cereal with powdered sugar (monk fruit)
chocolate peanut butter covered chex cereal with powdered sugar (monk fruit)
small bowl of healthy low-sugar puppy chow (muddy buddies)

Other sweet treats you may enjoy:

If you make low-sugar puppy chow recipe be sure to leave a comment and star rating letting me know how the recipe turns out. I’d love to hear from you and it encourages others to make the recipe too.

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Low-Sugar Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddies)

Small glass container healthy low-sugar puppy chow (muddy buddies)
  • Author: Jessica Bippen
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 15 min
  • Yield: 5 cups (about 10 servings) 1x
Scale

Ingredients

5 cups Chex rice cereal
2.5 oz (about ½ cup) dark chocolate chips
½ cup natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt
1-1 ½ cups powdered monk fruit

Instructions

Melt the chocolate and peanut butter together in the microwave. Start with one minute, remove and stir. Place back in the microwave in 20 second intervals until completely melted.

Next, add 3 cups of cereal to a large bowl. Pour half of the chocolate-peanut butter mixture over the cereal. Add the remaining 2 cups of  cereal to the bowl and then pour the rest of the chocolate-peanut butter mixture on top. Gently stir and fold the cereal with a spoon until evenly coated.

Let the coated cereal come to room temperature; about 10 minutes. You can stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to speed up the process. Once your mixture has cooled, transfer to a lidded container or airtight bag. Add the powdered monk fruit. Seal the container or bag and shake until completely coated.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I’d love to hear how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #nourishedbynutriton.