By Beth Lipton

Puppy chow—aka muddy buddies—is a popular party mix for good reason: It scratches several itches at once. Whether you're craving something sweet, crunchy, or chocolatey, the homemade treat has you covered. 

But if you've ever wondered how to make puppy chow that doesn't leave you feeling slightly sick afterward, you've come to the right place. By making some strategic swaps and cutting waaay back on the sugar, we created a version that is, while not exactly healthy per se, far better for you.

Offer it up to your tailgate guests; we doubt any of them will complain. (And if they do, no more for them!) Incidentally, this recipe also happens to be gluten-free.

Healthier “Almond Joy” Puppy Chow

Yield: 10 cups

9 cups Rice Chex cereal
½ cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
6 oz. dark chocolate (at least 70%), chopped
½ cup almond butter
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
Generous pinch of salt
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. coconut flour
3-4 Tbsp. organic powdered sugar

Place cereal, coconut, and almonds in a large bowl; toss to mix. Bring a pan with 1 inch of water to a simmer. Place chocolate, almond butter, and coconut oil in a medium heatproof bowl; place on top of pan. Cook, whisking occasionally, until chocolate has melted and mixture is combined and smooth. Gently whisk in salt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into bowl with cereal; stir well to combine, but be gentle enough to not break up cereal too much (you can use your hands for this). Sprinkle in coconut flour and powdered sugar and toss until cereal is coated.

Note: This version is not as cloyingly sweet as the classic versions. Feel free to use a slightly lighter chocolate (60%) or add a tablespoon or two more powdered sugar, if you like. But try it our way first; we think you'll be pleasantly surprised.