Can you buy protein powder and other supplements with SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps?

Making purchases through government assistance programs, more commonly known as food stamps, SNAP, or EBT, can be a tricky process. The rules can be a bit convoluted and difficult to understand. This article will explain whether or not you can use food stamps to buy protein powder, and provide you with a large list of grocery stores that both sell protein powder and accept food stamps.

Can You Buy Protein Powder with Food Stamps?

It depends on the exact protein powder you’d like to buy. While you can buy almost any food item with your EBT card, you cannot buy vitamins or supplements. Some protein powders are sold as food, while others are sold as supplements. Whether or not you can purchase a particular product will depend on whether it’s sold as a food or as a supplement.

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 cannot be purchased using food stamps. If the label says “Nutrition Facts,” then the product can be purchased with the SNAP benefits on your EBT card. There’s a huge number of protein powders on the market, and while most are sold as supplements, keep an eye out for that “Nutritional Facts” label so that you know which ones are considered food.

Visit the USDA Eligible Food Items web page for more information on this topic, as well as other guidelines for purchasing items with SNAP.

Can You Buy Other Supplements with Food Stamps?

The same rules apply to all other items you may want to purchase with food stamps or SNAP benefits. SNAP recipients cannot use their benefits to buy anything that is considered a vitamin or a supplement. Certain protein bars can be purchased if they have a “Nutrition Facts” label rather than a “Supplement Facts” label. This same distinction applies to weight loss shakes and ready-made protein shakes as well.

What Grocery Stores Accept Food Stamps?

The following stores accept food stamps, as verified on the USDA SNAP Retailer Locator web page. Though note that this is not an exhaustive list, as the majority of grocery stores do accept food stamps (with the exception of very small “mom and pop” stores). You can call your local grocery store before heading over to make sure that your location both accepts EBT and sells the product you want — just click on a store name below to be taken to that grocery store’s location finder. From there, you can find the contact information for your nearest store.

In Summary

If the product is considered a supplement, you cannot use food stamps for the purchase. However, some protein powders have a “Nutrition Facts” label instead of a “Supplement Facts” label, which means that EBT can be used for that item.

So can you buy protein powder with EBT/Food Stamps? Yes. If you read the labels, shop at the right stores, and buy strategically, yes, you will be able to put your EBT benefits towards your protein powder purchase.