Food Stamps: What you can and cannot buy with SNAP

Millions of Americans collect food stamps, or SNAP benefits each month to help buy food for their families. But what can they buy?

produce section that has food stamp snap benefit eligible products for purchasing with an EBT card

Food stamps are given on a card known as an EBT, or electronic benefits transfer, card.

Each month your benefits are loaded onto the card on the date you’re set to get the SNAP benefits.

By using an EBT card, what people purchase is controlled and monitored to be sure the funds are being spent correctly.


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What can I buy with food stamps?

SNAP benefits are given to families to be able to afford healthy food options.

Included are

  • Bread
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Chips
  • Popcorn
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Seeds
  • Plants
  • Baby formula
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry

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What can’t I buy with food stamps?

EBT cards can’t be used to buy some things.

This includes

  • Supplemental energy drinks
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Liquor
  • Cigarettes
  • Tobacco
  • Diapers
  • Hygiene products
  • Vitamins
  • Medicine
  • Non-grocery items

Applying for SNAP

The USDA funds the SNAP program.

You must apply to the state you reside in.

You can do this by contacting your local SNAP office and filling out an application for food stamps.