Whatever name you call it, I love snack mix, party mix, Chex mix, and puppy chow.
I can inhale many handfuls in very short order. Hello hundreds of empty calories in about 3 minutes flat.
What’s not to love about puppy chow. It’s no-bake, fast, easy, and made with cereal. I have a huge thing for cereal-based treats, especially chocolate and peanut butter ones.
There’s peanut butter melted with white or milk chocolate, and then it’s coated in cups of confectioners’ sugar. As a child growing up, that was standard issue, yet supremely addictive, puppy chow.
However in recent years, tossing it with sprinkles, mini peanut butter cups, Nutella and peanuts, or even buttery waffles has crept in. Plain puppy chow wasn’t enough and it had to be trashed up, even more. You know, keeping up with the virtual Jones’ on Pinterest. I’m as guilty as the next, but whoa, it all adds up to a whole lot of mindless calories that no one needs.
That’s where this snack mix comes in. It’s skinny, vegan, gluten-free, there’s no butter or oil added, and it’s ready in less than 5 minutes. It also makes a modest batch because I don’t need a gallon-sized tub of puppy chow laying around, skinny or not.
I included the stats from SparkRecipes. The whole batch makes about 5 cups and came in at just over 1000 calories for the entire batch. If you have 1 cup, you’re looking at about 200 calories.
If you have more self-control and can get by with 1/2 cup, there’s only 101 calories per serving.
A half cup of my skinny mix is still more quantity than you’ll find in most of those very skimpy 100-calorie store bought snack packs, and much more satisfying. Those snack packs are truly like eating air. You’re clearly paying for forced portion control and convenience because there’s hardly any actual food included.
To make the mix, melt together peanut butter and your sweetener of choice. I used corn syrup because it’s cheap and it makes a great glue. Use brown rice syrup, agave, honey (not vegan), or another really sticky liquid sweetener. I don’t recommend maple syrup based on taste.
Stir in a bit of vanilla, pour over the cereal, and stir to combine. I used Corn Chex which is both vegan and gluten-free. If you want to use other flavors like Chocolate, Honey Nut, or Cinnamon, Wheat Chex, Rice Chex (less hearty and may crush more easily) or Crispix, I’m sure they’ll be just fine. If you’re monitoring vegan/GF status, read the labels because not all cereals are appropriate for all dietary paths.
Rather than tossing with confectioners’ sugar like most puppy chow, I tossed with unsweetened natural cocoa powder, which is very low in calories at just 40 calories per 1/4 cup. You need something to dry up the gooey melted peanut butter mixture.
Because the cocoa is unsweetened, it causes the mix to take on a not-so-sweet but very chocolaty profile. The chocolate flavor is more dominant than the peanut butter flavor, and I love how intensely chocolaty it is, without being overly sweet. If you find it needs a little more sweetness, sprinkle on a packet or two of your favorite zero-calorie sweetener.
Optionally, for a salty-and-sweet mix, sprinkle with Kosher or sea salt. You could also swap in waffle-board style pretzels for some of the Chex for more salty-and-sweet crunch. Calorically, I don’t think there’s a significant difference between pretzels and cereal, although the former won’t likely be vegan/GF.
The mix is crispy, crunchy, and chewy. It’ll tame your fiercest chocolate cravings, and with peanut butter undertones, it’s satisfying and tastes far more decadent than the stats indicate.
When I’m feeling snacky, lots of crunch in the form of chocolate and peanut butter without eating a half day’s calories in minutes is absolutely perfect.
It’s good it’s a skinny recipe because multiple servings were a must.
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Skinny 100-Calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Mix
This skinny version of ‘puppy chow’ is vegan, gluten-free, there’s no butter or oil added, and it’s ready in less than 5 minutes. It also makes a modest batch when you don’t need a gallon of puppy chow around, skinny or not. It’s crispy, crunchy, and chewy. It’ll tame your fiercest chocolate cravings, and with peanut butter undertones, it’s satisfying and tastes far more decadent than the stats indicate at just 100 calories per half cup. It’s fast and easy to make and is ready in less than 5 minutes for times when you want a comforting snack without mindlessly eating a half day’s worth of empty calories. For a salty-and-sweet twist, substitute half the cereal for waffle-board style pretzels. As written, the recipe is vegan/GF. Always read labels to make sure all products and brands are appropriate for your dietary needs.
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (don’t use natural or homemade, too runny)
- 1/4 cup light-colored corn syrup (or brown rice syrup, agave, honey)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups Corn Chex
- about 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder, or to taste
- pinch or packet(s) of zero-calorie sweetener Truvia, Splenda, stevia, etc., optional and to taste (I didn’t need any)
- pinch Kosher or sea salt, optional and to taste for a salty-and-sweet treat
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter, corn syrup, and heat on high power for 30 seconds to melt. Stir mixture smooth.
- Stir in the vanilla; set mixture aside.
- In a large bowl, add the cereal.
- Pour wet mixture over the cereal and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup cocoa powder, or to taste, and toss to coat.
- Taste the mix and optionally add a pinch or packet(s) zero-calorie sweetener. I didn’t find it necessary, but I’m not bothered by the bitterness of cocoa powder.
- For a salty-and-sweet treat, optionally sprinkle with salt, to taste.
- Mix will keep airtight for up to 1 week.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 143Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 98mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 4g
White Chocolate Buttery Waffles Snack Mix
White Chocolate Vanilla Peanut Butter Puppy Chow (GF)
Peanut Butter Chex Mix, aka “Puppy Chow” (vegan, GF)
Buttery Toasted Captain Crunchies (Vegan & GF options)
Cinnamon Sugar Chocolate Pretzels (no-bake, vegan, GF)
Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix (no-bake)
Vanilla Cake Batter and White Chocolate Chip Caramel Corn
Chocolate Peanut Butter Mocha Powerballs (no-bake, vegan, gluten-free)
Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free) – NO added white or brown sugar, NO butter or dairy, and NO flour used
*** Note that not all Rice Chex is gluten-free as your post suggests. GM has a version of the cereal that’s gluten-free***
I made today. Doubled the recipe because I know the family will enjoy. Now I have to stop eating so they’ll have some. :) I tossed them at the end with a little powdered sugar. This recipe is super super good. Please make more snack mixes. I love them!
Thanks for trying this and glad you love it as well as the other snack mixes! Here you may find some other snacky things you’ll enjoy, too https://www.averiecooks.com/category/snacks
Love it. Definitely mid-afternoon snack worthy!
I totally double fist puppy chow when I eat it shame shame!
This looks amazing! Love that it is easy on the waistline!
Love that you made such a low cal but certainly no less addictive treat. I always skip the butter when I make puppy chow, but then I add tons of pb and pub chips, along with confectioner’s sugar.
Mmmm I love it too! This looks amazing :) I need it
oooooh it’s like puppy chow without the sugar! DELISH (and omg only 100 calories??!)
Yes it and and yes, only 100 cals! :)
The queen of peanut butter strikes again!! This sounds so delicious!
You’re a life saver, or should I say weight saver :D
As a snack empty callorie addict, I appreciate this article so mutch, that I can’t even thank you enough!
Have a great 2014!
I’m glad this mix is not in front of me because I’d be inhaling it! ;)
I love that this is a Houdini dessert, so to speak. It looks nothing like health food — in fact, I would not use “skinny” to describe it if I didn’t know better! But BAM — made with some cleverly selected ingredients, even puppy chow can transform into a health food. Are you sure you’re not a mad scientist?
I feel like a mad scientist most days :)
Just now tried this. Needed a quick snack (had extra kids over on a snow day to combat cabin fever) and this was perfect. I did add some powdered sugar as well to sweeten it for kid tastes, although for myself the cocoa alone was tasty. And I LOVE that it doesn’t make a bunch! Thanks!
Thanks for trying it and glad you liked it – cocoa for you, powdered sugar for the kids, and yes to not making a ton – awesome! :)
This is brilliant! Thanks for recipe – pinned!
Thanks for pinning!
What perfect timing for posting this, Averie! At my workplace, there are boxes on baskets of holiday snack gifts from clients still lingering in the kitchen (which is ten feet from my desk – and in my direct line of view). Staring down pounds of chocolate all day is no fun, but this recipe would be perfect for combating those cravings!
Averie! I love this! SO GENIUS! I’m definitely trying ASAP :)
A healthy chez-mix?? This might just change my life! I can eat the other stuff my the bagful…this sound like a much healthier option! Ha! I’m thinking I need to make this for the Superbowl party I’m hosting. It will be a great snack to have on hand!! :) Pinned!!
Thanks for pinning and it would be a great party snack!
This snack looks delicious, and much better than my beloved Chex-Mix! I can’t wait to try this– thanks for sharing!
It’s like you snuck into the pantry at my mom’s house to see what you could make for me. Except, of course, I would be using some stevia or eryth instead of the corn syrup, because I’m me. But hten, also because I’m me, Id eat the whole batch!
The issue with that is that the coating won’t stick. It will just fall right off because melted PB by itself is borderline pass-able, but barely. You need the sticky syrup and the chemical reaction when heated to get the gooey factor so that it all sticks together. Writing this just in case others are tempted to omit; it probably won’t give you the results as shown in the photos.
This looks like Cinnamon Toast Crunch but WAY BETTER. I’m scared to make it because I’m pretty sure this would last two days in my house.
Way better than C.T.C. if I do say so :) Try it!
I hate 100 calorie packs. Just looking at them makes me want to stuff my face. I’d rather portion my own by choice and feel satisfied.
I am dying over this. Love me some pb and chocolate. For sure !
Yeah those packs are worthless. I swear I feel hungrier AFTER. Like…what was the point of that!? Lol
I love what you said about those 100- calorie snack packs. I stopped buying them because I would eat the entire box in two days! I love that these are low cal AND actually filling within one serving size- not 3+.
Those packs are worthless. I swear I feel hungrier AFTER. Like…what was the point of that and yes you need 3, so you’ve had 300 cals. And then it’s like, well, why didn’t I just have something that would have been GOOD that I actually wanted instead of this bastardized attempt at a snack.
I haaate those 100-cal snack mixes from the grocery stores. You take two bits and then they’re all gone! Your looks delicious and definitely does not look like 100 calories. My favourite photo is the 4th from the top. :) I like that tower in a bowl!
It was like Chex mix oragami to get that tower to stay up :) Thanks for noticing it! And totally agree with the snack packs. Worthless and you need 3 anyway to feel (remotely) but never satisfied.
I know I’m supposed to be sticking with my healthy eating habits, but here I am – only 6 days into the new year – and I’m already missing chocolate. Awesome option to curb those cravings!
Yes this is SUPER chocolaty and will curb your cravings!
I’m totally a snack girl!! Love crunchy low calorie treats like this :)
When you bake as much as you and I do, having a few lower cal options around is always good :)
This looks delicious! Love the idea of adding some sea salt, yum!
Yay! I am seriously in love with this recipe Averie! This is the kind of recipe that I will be making and storing in little ziplock bags for my daughter and husband as a snack!
Oh that’s perfect! Great thinking & LMK how they like it! (if your daughter is really young, the chocolate may be a bit on the bitter side for her – you may want to finish with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar or sugar-substitute) – then again my daughter loves really dark chocolate so you never know!
Oh now this is the type of snack I would love to have!
My husband got on a Corn Chex buying spree when it was on sale during Christmas and now maybe I have a low-guilt way of using it up!
PERFECT way to use it up! Also any of the recipes in the related recipes that are snack mixes, work those in, too!
I really like the taste of cocoa powder and love the idea of coating the muddy buddies in that! Anything I can eat by the handful is automatically in danger of MIA, so I thank you for making a skinny version. :) Looks amazing!
A skinny version on those mindless-eating type snacks is always good, right!
Yay! I love all the skinny recipes floating around this time of year. This sounds too good to be true. Chocolate and peanut butter puppychow for 200cals?!! *Happy Dance*
Glad you like it!
Who could not love this recipe and your for developing it!!?!? Seriously, I could not be more excited that I can now eat a few cupfuls and not feel totally guilty or be on a sugar high. Yes, please!!
And you’re only 20 so you’re still on nature’s good-girl list :) After you’re in your mid 30s and pop out a kid or two, nature isn’t as forgiving and kind. But yeah this is not the sugar high puppy chow. It’s really chocolaty and dark! I was surprised, actually!
Yes, yes, yes! Love pretty much every thing about this awesome treat you’ve got going on here :)
For this and so many other reasons, Averie – i love you! You know how much I love snack mixes – and your sweet and salty suggestion just blew my peanut butter-chocolate loving mind. I love a good puppy chow and I can’t believe I can eat an entire cup of this stuff for 200 cals…?! This is madness. Sheer amazing madness.
LOL and thanks, Sally! I know you love puppy chow and this is the most ‘sophisticated’ version I’ve ever made. It’s really deep and dark, and not sugarhigh-ish, at all. From using cocoa powder, not confectioners’ sugar. I love sweets as much as anyone, but sometimes puppy chow with the white choc AND then the confect. sugar, it can really give almost anyone a sugar high :)
YES! I cannot thank you enough for this recipe. I love puppy chow SO much and this is the answer. :)
Glad it’s a keeper for you!
It’s a good thing this is skinny because I don’t think I could stick to a 1 cups serving! In my books all 5 cups = 1 serving. This looks ah-may-zing girl!
I know, I had a couple cupfuls on day 1. The whole batch only lasted 36 hours, but I had a little help eating it from family. But I did hoard this stuff for myself :)
This looks seeeeeeeriously addicting, Averie! I love that it’s low cal, too. Since I know I won’t be able to stop eating it ;)
Pretty much sums my situation up, too :)
This sounds like a perfect 3:00 pm snack! Do you know how much a cup weighs in at? Sometimes when a recipe calls for a cup, my cup weighs so much more than the serving size! I’m so glad I found your site – I really like your approach to snacking :)
No I didn’t weigh it, but loosely measured, not smacked and packed down.
I have a confession…I’ve never had puppy chow. Seriously, never! Sort of embarrassing and sad.
I love the peanut butter and cocoa powder addition! It’s also great knowing that I could eat a couple handfuls of this without feeling guilty :) Great recipe Averie!
you HAVE TO change that, asap! :)
It’s nice to see a lightened up version of the best cereal snack mix ever made! I like the cocoa powder dusting and sea salt (I like to finish truffles that way too–faster than dipping). I thought of you yesterday when I saw that Nestlé has a new candy bar–butterfinger PB cups….2 faves in 1 for me!!
Oh I haven’t even seen that one! I will keep my eyes peeled :)
And yes to just dusting (rather than dipping) – faster, less cals, and less mess!
I love that use tossed with cocoa powder instead of powdered sugar. What a smart substitution!
Rich taste, and basically no calories. A no-brainer!
I LOVE puppy chow. The idea of sea salt (one of my favorite things on earth) is a great idea.
salty-and-sweet always works!
Can’t beat chocolate & peanut butter; or a healthier version of chow mix :)
Wishing you a belated happy new year, Averie! Hope all is well.
Happy New Year right back! xoxo
What!? Healthier chow! Yes sir may I have another sir:)
Healthier Chow, indeed! :)