Short Answer: You can buy certain types of protein powder with food stamps/EBT. SNAP benefits aren’t valid on vitamins or supplements, so the protein powder must be marked with “Nutrition Facts” rather than “Supplement Facts” to be eligible. For more information about buying protein powder with EBT, see below.
Can You Buy Protein Powder With Food Stamps/EBT/SNAP?
Whether you can buy protein powder with your EBT card will depend on the exact protein powder you’d like to purchase. Some protein powders are sold as food, while others are sold as supplements. While you can buy almost any food item with your EBT card, you can’t buy vitamins or supplements. The protein powder you’re interested in must be considered a food item to be EBT-eligible.
One way to check this is to read the label on the back of the product. If the label is titled “Supplement Facts,” this product is considered a supplement, and you can’t buy it using SNAP benefits. If the label says “Nutrition Facts,” you may be able to purchase the powder with your EBT card.
For example, several Pure Protein whey powders contain “Nutrition Facts” labels and are EBT-eligible. However, the CVS store brand whey protein has a “Supplement Facts” label and will require a different payment method.
None of the benefits agencies we contacted were able to provide a complete list of approved protein powders. However, if you have a question about a particular product’s EBT eligibility, you can check the label, contact your local benefits agency, or use the USDA Ask the Expert tool to email your question to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
Can You Buy Other Supplements With Food Stamps/EBT/SNAP?
The same rules that apply to protein powders apply to other supplements you want to purchase with SNAP benefits: you can’t use SNAP benefits on any item considered a vitamin or supplement.
Certain protein bars are eligible for EBT if they have a “Nutrition Facts” label. This same distinction applies to weight loss shakes and ready-made protein drinks. For example, because they have a “Nutrition Facts” label, you can purchase Ensure nutrition drinks with EBT (as previously reported).
For more information on non-supplemental items eligible for SNAP/EBT, check out our research on what you can and can’t buy with EBT. Wondering where to shop? See our lists of grocery stores, gas stations, food delivery services, and restaurants that accept EBT.