September 15, 2021

Sugar-Free Birthday Cake Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddies)

This Sugar-Free Birthday Cake Puppy Chow is made with whole grain cereal, protein powder, pudding mix, Stevia, white chocolate, and cashew butter. These Funfetti Muddy Buddies are also high protein, refined sugar-free, and require no chill time.

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for today's recipe. Like my indulgent childhood treat just became a healthy treat with zero guilt attached to it. Doesn't that just sound wonderful?

Where I come from, this treat was known as Puppy Chow, but my husband looked at me funny when I called it that. He calls them Muddy Buddies. Either way, it's delicious and I'm sure you've had it.

Puppy Chow got its name because it looks like dog kibble, but after Chex, the cereal brand, heard about it, they created their own recipe on the back of their cereal boxes for "Muddy Buddies."

Whatever you call it, it's amazing, and it just got better. This recipe for Birthday Cake Puppy Chow is refined sugar-free, made with heart-healthy fats, and has 10g of protein per serving!

Hands holding a cup of sugar free muddy buddies

Ingredients for sugar-free puppy chow

  • LIFE cereal: yes, it's a different cereal than the traditional recipe, but I chose this one because it's more nutritious than the regular Chex cereal. If you need a gluten-free option, feel free to use equal amounts of a gluten-free Chex cereal.
  • Vanilla protein powder: one of the "sugar" ingredients that also adds all the protein to this Birthday Cake Puppy Chow. This is my favorite brand (not sponsored) because it's the most affordable per ounce of protein. Feel free to use any brand you like.
  • White chocolate pudding: another "sugar" ingredient that boosts the birthday cake flavor while keeping these Muddy Buddies sugar-free. Make sure to buy the sugar-free pudding mix!
  • Stevia: the zero-calorie sweetener that replaces regular sugar. You can't tell the difference but your body will thank you!
  • Lily's White Chocolate: naturally sweetened with Stevia but still rich with that white chocolate flavor. It's easiest to buy it as a bar rather than chocolate chips for measurements' sake.
  • Cashew butter: a much healthier alternative to traditional butter that's also a good source of copper, magnesium, manganese, and plant-based protein. Make sure you use 100% natural creamy cashew butter with the oil separation on top!
  • Almond extract: the secret to creating that signature "birthday cake" or "cake batter" flavor you know and love. If you don't have some on hand, it's 100% worth the trip to the store. Please take my word for it when I say it makes all the difference. Do not leave this ingredient out!
  • Sprinkles: totally optional. If you truly want to keep this recipe sugar-free, you can buy keto sugar-free sprinkles here on Amazon!

Ingredients for healthy puppy chow

How to make no chill puppy chow

If you've never made Muddy Buddies or Puppy Chow, it's way easier than you think, and this recipe is even easier than the original!

Normally you'd melt butter, peanut butter, and chocolate on the stove, and after tossing it with the cereal, you have to let it cool before tossing it with the powdered sugar.

With this Birthday Cake Puppy Chow, there is NO COOLING REQUIRED. That's right, I figured out how to make this 30 minute treat a 10 minute treat!

The secret is melting the chopped chocolate with the cashew butter in the microwave. Because cashew butter is already partially "melted" (ie it's more liquid than a stick of cold butter), it just needs one minute in the microwave with the chocolate.

As the chocolate melts, it adds the necessary liquid to the cashew butter to thin it out. It's magical!

From there, the steps are pretty much the same: toss the cereal in the wet ingredients, then shake the cereal in a large ziploc bag with the "sugar." The best part is that you get to enjoy this treat right away!

If you're not already drooling at the idea of instant Puppy Chow, just take a look at the picture below. It gets me every time!

Sugar free birthday cake puppy chow with rainbow sprinkles

Protein puppy chow variations

To make this Birthday Cake Puppy Chow recipe gluten-free: simply swap the LIFE cereal for a gluten-free Chex cereal.

Feel free to use any vanilla protein you like, even if it's vegan! Just make sure to measure the same amount of protein powder.

If you don't have or can't find cashew butter, I'd recommend using almond butter. Peanut butter is too strong of a flavor and will overpower the birthday cake flavor!

More healthy treats to try

Healthy Chewy Monster Cookies

Mini Banana Cream Pie Cookie Cups

Healthy Strawberry Crisp with Salted Pretzel Topping

Homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch Popcorn

Mint Chocolate Protein Donuts

Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

A scoop full of healthy sugar free birthday cake muddy buddies

I can't wait for you to try these Muddy Buddies! You will never want the traditional recipe again after you try my sugar-free version.

Be sure to leave a star rating and review below if you try this recipe for Birthday Cake Puppy Chow so other readers know how you liked it!

This Sugar-Free Birthday Cake Puppy Chow is made with whole grain cereal, protein powder, pudding mix, Stevia, white chocolate, and cashew butter. These Funfetti Muddy Buddies are also high protein, refined sugar-free, and require no chill time.


Brooke Harmer













  • 3 C LIFE cereal (or GF Chex cereal)
  • ½ C vanilla protein powder
  • 1 packet sugar-free white chocolate pudding
  • 3 Tbsp Stevia
  • 1 bar Lily's White Chocolate
  • ⅓ C cashew butter
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ⅛ tsp vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar-free sprinkles* (optional)


  1. Pour the cereal in a really large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Blend the protein powder, pudding mix, Stevia, and salt in a food processor or high speed blender for 30 seconds until well combined and powder-like.
  3. In a shallow bowl, melt the chocolate and cashew butter in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir to combine, and microwave another 30 seconds. Whisk in the almond extract and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Working quickly (the wet ingredients are going to solidify fast!), gently fold the wet ingredients with a silicone spatula into the cereal. At first, it won't look like there's enough, but I promise there is!
  5. Transfer the cereal to a large ziploc bag and add the dry ingredients. Toss well until the cereal is coated in the "powdered sugar."  


*To keep this recipe sugar-free , either omit the sprinkles or use sugar-free sprinkles.

Nutrition facts are a calculated estimate of 1/2 cup of puppy chow, including 2 tablespoons sugar-free sprinkles. If you use regular sprinkles, the nutrition facts will increase in fat, carbs, and sugar.


Serving: ½ cup / Calories: 270 / Fat: 15g / Saturated Fat: 4.2g / Carbohydrates: 34.4g / Fiber: 5.9g / Sugar: 5.5g / Protein: 9.3g