Can You Buy Protein Powder With EBT? (Read It First)

If you’ve recently been issued an EBT card, you may be confused about which foods qualify for SNAP.
The answer to your question is yes, you can buy protein powder with EBT though there are some restrictions which you can read about.

What is EBT? 

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to pay for meals using SNAP benefits. When a participant makes a purchase at a SNAP-authorized store, their SNAP EBT account is debited to reimburse the store for the food purchased.

Can You Buy Protein Powder With Food Stamps/SNAP/EBT?

The short answer is yes. However, it depends on the type of protein powder you want to buy.

An easy way to find out if you can pay for it using EBT is to check the label on the back of the product. It can be purchased using EBT if it is labeled with ‘Nutrition Facts’ or ‘Food Item’. Some are labeled ‘additional facts’ and if so, unfortunately the cost cannot be covered using EBT.

What Protein Powder Can You Purchase With An EBT Card?

Any item on which EBT is eligible as described above. So why can’t this be said for every protein product?

EBT, or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits were introduced to give citizens with low, or no, income access to healthy and nutritious food. Protein powders aren’t really an integral part of any diet so in a way, it abuses the EBT system.

On the other hand, most protein powder products are marketed as food items, making it legal to purchase with an EBT card.

Let’s take a look at the EBT-eligible brands:

  • Optimum Natural Gold Standard
  • Naked Whey (Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder)
  • MuscleFarm Combat Protein
  • TGS Natural Whey Powder
  • F-Factor 20/20 Protein/Fiber Powder
  • Muscle Milk Protein Powder

Why Are Some Protein Powders Labeled As A Food Item?

This is a great question. Some protein powders contain food products and others do not.

For example, chocolate protein powder may contain traces of egg whites, cocoa, and coconut. These markings may be rare, but if they are there, the manufacturer must provide a ‘Nutrition Facts’ label. Pretty smart, huh?

Can You Buy Other Health Supplements Using EBT?

Currently, health supplements including vitamins, oils and other nutritional products do not meet the EBT criteria. However, there are hopes that this will change in the near future.

And why not? After all, taking health supplements is a great investment when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle.

Can You Buy Protein Shakes With EBT?

Yes, you can buy protein shakes with EBT as long as the product is labeled with ‘Nutrition Facts’ or ‘Food Item’.

Protein shakes are usually labeled as supplements and EBT-eligible products are hard to find. The same goes for protein bars and other related snacks.
Luckily for you, we’ve managed to put together a list of protein and meal replacement shakes that can be purchased through EBT such as:

  • Labrada Lean Body Hi-Protein Replacement Shakes
  • Premier Protein Shakes (30g)
  • MET-Rx Original Whey Meal Replacement Shakes
  • Evolve Vegan Protein Shake
  • SlimFast Original Meal Replacement Shake Mix
  • Orgain Organic Vegan Meal Replacement Powder

Can You Buy Creatine With EBT?

No, you cannot purchase any creatine products with EBT. This is because creatine is only sold as a supplement and never as a food product. It is never produced with a ‘nutrition facts’ label.

Can You Buy Protein Powder Online Using EBT?

Yes of course. As long as the online store accepts EBT as a valid payment method, you should have no problem.

To complete an online transaction using an EBT card, you will need to enter your card details in the ‘Payment section’. There is usually an option to save your card details for next time, although we would never recommend storing your card details online. Better to be safe than sorry!

What Other Things Can You Buy With EBT?

The list of EBT-eligible items is impressive and in some areas, you can even use it to buy fast food (as long as the state participates in the Restaurant Meal Program, or RMP).

Take a look below to see what you are entitled to as the holder of an EBT card:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Breads and cereals
  • Meat (steak, beef, etc)
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Dairy products (yogurt, cheese, milk)
  • Soft drinks
  • Energy drinks (Monster, Redbull, etc)
  • Desserts (ice cream, cakes, etc)
  • Potato chips

As you can see, EBT covers a wide variety of food and drinks that allow individuals to lead a full and healthy lifestyle. So what products are prohibited?

  • Tobacco products
  • Alcohol
  • Prescriptions
  • Health supplements (labeled with ‘Supplemental Facts’)
  • Household cleaning products
  • Pet food
  • Hot food or drinks that are prepared upon purchase

The Final Say

To conclude, the answer to your question is yes, you can buy protein powder with EBT as long as the product has a ‘Nutrition Facts’ or ‘Food Item’ label. The same can be said for protein and meal replacement shakes.


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