What Can I Buy with SNAP?

Fresh, farm food on display at a grocery store.

Foods you can buy with SNAP

The following list of eligible items are from the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), who oversees SNAP. 

  • Foods to eat, such as:
    • Breads and cereals
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Meats, fish, and poultry
    • Dairy products
  • Seeds and plants that produce food to eat
  • Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are eligible food items
  • Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also eligible food items 

Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Any nonfood items, such as:
    • Pet foods
    • Soaps and paper products
    • Household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods or any food sold for on-premises consumption
  • Live animals may NOT be purchased with SNAP benefits

Helpful Information

Energy drinks that have a nutrition label are eligible foods. Energy drinks that have a supplement facts label are classified by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as supplements, are not eligible.

Pumpkins are edible and eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. However, inedible gourds and pumpkins that are used solely for ornamental purposes are not eligible items.

Gift baskets that contain both food and non-food items are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits if the value of the non-food items exceeds 50 percent of the purchase price.

Items such as birthday and other special occasion cakes are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits as long as the value of non-edible decorations does not exceed 50 percent of the purchase price of the cake.

Essentially, items that are not eligible include:

  • Food products that contain alcohol or tobacco products
  • Items that are not intended for human consumption (e.g., paper products, pet foods, etc.)
  • Foods sold hot at the point-of-sale
  • Vitamins and supplements

Considering the eligibility of vitamins and supplements, power bars, energy drinks, and other branded products, the primary deterrent is the label chosen by the manufacturer to conform to FDA guidelines:

  • Items that carry a nutrition facts label are eligible foods
  • Items that carry a supplement facts label are classified by the FDA as supplements and are therefore NOT eligible