Can You Buy Protein Powder With EBT? Yes and No; Here’s Why!

Once you receive SNAP funds and wish to buy economical food items with EBT, it becomes important to know what you can not purchase with these funds. Similarly, our fitness freaks have been anxious to know if can you buy protein powder with EBT food stamps. We are here to find out! 

What Will We Talk About Here?
  • You can buy protein powder with EBT if it has “nutrition facts” label but not with “supplement fact” label.
  • Stores like Walmart, Walgreen’s, Whole Food, etc. sell EBT-eligible protein powder.
  • Alternatively, you can buy whole eggs, whole milk, peanut butter, or DIY protein shakes in place of protein powder.

…and Much More!

Can You Buy Protein Powder With EBT

There is no black-or-white answer to this question because whether you can buy protein powder with EBT or not depends on the exact product that you wish to purchase.

  • You can buy food protein powder with EBT but if it comes under the category of “supplements” it will not be covered under SNAP benefits. 

The label of the product would tell you everything you need to know about the product’s eligibility. Anything labelled with “Nutrition Facts” can be bought with EBT but those with “Supplements Facts” can not be. Here’s a quick summary of certain protein powders that you can buy with EBT.

Whey and Animal-Based Protein PowdersPlant-Based Protein Powders
BSC Suntha-6 EdgeGarden Life Sport
Ascent Native Fuel Whey Garden of Life Meal Replacement
Isopure Low Carb NOW Sports Pea Protein
Levels Whey Protein Vega Sport Premium Replacement
Optimum Nutrition Gold StandardNAKED Pea Protein

Check Which Protein Powder You Can Buy With EBT

It may not be possible to access the complete list of protein powders that can be purchased with EBT. Alternatively, you can use some methods to determine which product you can and can not buy. Here are a few ideas. 

  1. Check the label before the purchase or, if buying products online, check it before adding any item to the cart. Remember, EBT will only cover items labelled with “Nutrition Facts”.
  2. The local benefits agency may be able to provide you with a complete list of EBT-eligible protein powders.
  3. The USDA website also hosts the section Ask The Expert. Here you can leave your queries about EBT-eligible products. The experts at their Food and Nutrition Service will get back to you shortly.

Where To Buy Protein Powder With EBT

There is a long list of spots that let you buy protein powder with EBT. Some locations that you should consider include grocery stores like Walmart, Walgreens, Safeway, Publix, Sprout, Whole Foods, and Albertson’s. You can also have these ordered online via Amazon.

Although food stamps do not cover supplement purchases, some supplement stores sell products with “nutrition facts” labels. Therefore, you can carry out purchases here as well. Some options include GNC and Vitamin Shoppe.

Protein Powder – Alternatives

What if you can’t find any protein powder that is eligible for EBT purchase? Well, the good news is that there are still food items that you can buy with the benefits and use to supplement for protein in your food. Here are a few ideas.

Whole Eggs

When we think about protein sources, eggs are typically the first thing that pops up in our minds. They provide a considerable amount of protein and are not expensive either. So if you want to supplement your food with protein and stay on a budget, eggs are not the best choice that you will make!

Whole Milk

Whole milk as well as muscle milk are top items that you can buy with EBT. Although muscle milk still carries some restrictions, that is you will have to check the label, whole milk can almost always be purchased with EBT. Drinking a cup of milk a day should make up for the protein supply that your body needs. You can also use it to make delicious desserts and shakes at home.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a favorite bread add-on for many consumers. Not only is it delicious but full of nutrition as well. Initially, the purchase of the jar may seem like an expensive purchase but, remember, the jar can last for months with a very long shelf life.

DIY Protein Shakes

Most of the components of shakes come under EBT purchases even if the shake itself is not eligible. Therefore, you can buy the items yourself and make the protein shake at home. Here, you can buy things like fruits, nuts, whole milk, oats, and other ingredients that you may wish to add.

Extra Reading

Is It Possible To Obtain Protein Bars With EBT?

You can buy only selective protein bars using EBT food stamps. These bars must be covered under the Nutritional Facts label. The same goes for weight-loss shakes, protein drinks and nutrition drinks. The label is necessary for purchase via EBT.

This is because the SNAP funds have aimed to make it easier for low-income families to obtain the food items that are necessary for nutrition. This covers almost all products that are sold as, or part of, staple food.

  • There are only selective brands that sell their protein shakes or bars with the label “nutrition facts”.

You can do some research only to figure out which such brands are accessible in your region and purchase from them. This would help you shorten the list and save time.

Purchase Meal Replacement Shakes With EBT Card

Meal replacement meals have become quite popular over the recent years. Whether you are using it in place for dinner, lunch, or breakfast, you will eat healthier and consume fewer calories.

The purchase of a meal replacement shake with EBT comes down to whether it is for nutritional purposes or supplementary needs. The latter can not be purchased with SNAP funds.

To save you time, here’s a list of certain brands that offer meal replacement shakes that you can buy with EBT.

  • Evolve Protein Shake.
  • IdealShake Meal Replacement Shakes.
  • Labrada Lean Body Hi-Protein Meal Replacement Shake.
  • Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal Replacement Powder.
  • PlantFusion Complete Meal.
  • Premier Protein 30g Protein Shake.
  • SlimFast Original Meal Replacement Shake Mix.
  • MET-Rx Original Whey Meal Replacement Shakes.

Can EBT Cardholders Buy Muscle Milk?

Muscle milk is extensively used to build lean muscle and sustain positive energy throughout the day by athletes and sportsmen. Moreover, most Muscle Milk products are covered under food stamps.

Nonetheless, you should check the label before purchase so you don’t end up placing any wrong order. The same rule applies here, that is, any milk product labelled with “supplement facts” can not be purchased via EBT.

Can You Buy Other Supplements With EBT or Food Stamps/SNAP?

Any type of supplement that does not come under a nutritional necessity label can not be purchased with food stamps. SNAP benefits will not cover any such purchase.

Supplements do not count as essential food that a person needs to fulfil is dietary needs. Therefore EBT does not cover these purchases. This is the same reason why you can not hope to cover the purchase of prepared food at the point of sale through SNAP funds.

  • However, there is an exception if you happen to live in a state that offers a Restaurant Meals Program. 

RMP has been introduced in selective regions. It is yet another scheme to make it convenient for poor families to obtain sufficient food for their needs. However, you need to qualify for the program and wait for approval terms.

Can You Buy Vitamins With EBT/Food Stamps?

It is possible to purchase vitamins with EBT food stamps. This is because the stamps are specifically sold for use in food items that are essential and have to be cooked at home.

  • Since vitamins are not covered under SNAP funds, they will be removed from the cart when you proceed to checkout. 

Therefore, to save your time, it is better to just add protein powders that have a “nutrition facts” label. Alternatively, you can use credit cards or debit cards for purchasing vitamins and supplements while shopping in-store.

Non-Food Items To Buy With EBT Card

SNAP benefits are typically meant for food. However, in addition to this feature, the EBT card also comes with Transitional Aid to Family with Dependent Children benefits, or simply, TAFDC benefits.

This benefit is targeted to improving the financial conditions of single mothers, pregnant women, and caregivers in families. There are also additional requirements you must qualify for before getting TAFDC benefits.

Attention! Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits are only being provided to Massachusetts residents yet. If you happen to be one, visit the government official website for the city to learn more or simply apply online.

Consumables That You Can Not Buy With EBT

You would have already figured out by now that many consumables can not be purchased using SNAP benefits. Things like alcohol, tobacco, medicines, etc. that do not come with “nutrition facts” labels can not be bought through EBT.

If you go through general information on the internet, many websites will mention that protein powders as well can not be purchased with EBT.

This is because not all protein powders contain the required label. Some also carry supplementary value only and therefore, can not be bought with food stamps.

Other Surprising Things You Can Buy With EBT

It doesn’t stop at protein powder. There are several grocery items you can buy with EBT to cover your daily needs. Some of the unexpected items are listed below.

  • You can use an EBT card to order food online from participating retailers in your area. However, you will have to pay for the delivery, shipping, or other fees.
  • How about growing food yourself? With EBT, you can purchase seeds or seedlings to produce vegetables, herbs, or fruits in your garden.
  • Enrollees in select states (Arizona, California, Rhode Island, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, etc.) are also eligible for the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program. They can purchase prepared meals. However, there an eligibility criteria: Only 60+ years old, people with disability, or someone experiencing homelessness can qualify.
  • Unbrewed coffee, tea, and certain cold drinks are also eligible for EBT purchase.
  • Meal replacement shakes with Nutrition Facts label can be purchased with EBT as well.

EBT – Everything You Need To Know

Hunger and poverty are the most crucial elements in state development. The US, therefore, intends to tackle such issues with initiatives like the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

  • The scheme was launched under the US department of Agriculture (USDA) and aims to provide items with nutritional value to low-budget families. 

However, the benefits are not available to everyone. Applicants need to qualify for the program and once they receive food stamps or funds, an account will be established where money is delivered every month.

The funds are distributed with an Electronic Benefits Transfer card which acts much like a debit card. It has a security PIN that will be provided to you. This ensures that your money stays safe.

Attention! EBT benefits typically provide up to $477 per month to qualifying family and can successfully help increase household budget by 15%.

The only drawback is that EBT does not cover all type of food purchases. You can not buy vitamins, certain protein shakes, bars, or supplements with EBT.

The Bottom Line

Whether you are thinking about protein powder, bars, shakes, vitamins, or supplements, EBT only covers the purchase of food items that come under the “nutrition facts” label.

All other food products have to be purchased through other means like credit cards, debit cards, or cash.

Other than checking the label, you can also obtain the list of “EBT-eligible” products online or visit the official website to get in touch with experts who will guide you through the items that can be bought with SNAP and others that you can not buy using this program benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do protein bars come under items that I can buy with EBT food stamps? 

Certain protein bars can be purchased with SNAP benefits while others may not. As a general rule of thumb, only items labelled with “nutrition facts” can be bought using EBT.

Are vitamin purchases covered by EBT? 

Most Vitamins come as supplements, therefore, you can not purchase them using SNAP funds.

What other products, besides protein bars, can I buy with EBT? 

As a general rule of thumb, you can purchase anything with EBT food stamps as long as it comes with a “nutrition facts” label. This includes protein shakes, muscle milk, supplements, etc.

Can you buy protein powder with EBT cards?

Yes, you can buy protein powder with an EBT card but it needs to have Nutrition Facts labels and not Supplement Facts label.

Can you buy protein powder with EBT at Walmart?

Yes, EBT-eligible protein powder is available at Walmart. You can find it in the Health and Medicine section in-store and online.

Can you buy protein powder with EBT in Texas? 

Yes. Texas is one of the select states with EBT-eligible protein powder is available.

Can you buy protein powder with EBT at Costco? 

All Costco warehouse locations accept EBT cards.