The SNAP program for food assistance gives out more than $50 billion in benefits each year. With so many benefits going around, you might be wondering: What exactly can you get with that EBT card of yours? Can you buy energy drinks?
Energy drinks that are sold as food and labeled with “Nutrition Facts” are EBT approved. Energy drinks that are sold as supplements and labeled with “Supplement Facts” are not EBT approved. Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, and Bang energy drinks are all EBT approved.
See below for a list of 33 EBT-approved energy drinks (click to jump to it). Or keep reading for an explanation of how to check for yourself whether each energy drink can be purchased with food stamps.
Which Energy Drinks Can You Buy With Food Stamps?
Remember the purpose of SNAP benefits (EBT card / food stamps) are to help people buy food. So, that’s generally where the line is drawn: Does the product in question count as “food” or not?
Energy drinks are an interesting case because they can be sold as either food or supplements. So, energy drink companies can make the decision to sell it either way.
Interestingly, this wasn’t always the case. It was back around 2013 that Red Bull, Monster, and other major energy drink brands made the switch from being labeled as “supplements” to being labeled as “food.” (source)
Since then, there has been much debate—and some proposed legislation—to remove energy drinks from the list of EBT-approved items. However, currently you can still buy most energy drinks with EBT.
And again, the way to tell if an energy drink is being sold as “food” is that it says “Nutrition Facts” on the back. If it’s being sold as a supplement, it will say “Supplement Facts” instead.
To research for this post, I checked 41 energy drink brands, and 33 had “Nutrition Facts” on the back. Only 8 had “Supplement Facts” listed. So most energy drinks can be purchased with food stamps.
List of EBT-Approved Energy Drinks
The following energy drinks can be purchased with EBT. They all have a “Nutrition Facts” label, so they technically count as food.
The links go to Amazon (which does accept EBT):
- 3D Energy Drink
- Adrenaline Shoc Smart Energy
- Alani Nu Sugar-Free Energy Drink
- Amino Energy
- Amp Energy
- ASPIRE Healthy Energy
- Bang Energy Drink
- Bing Beverage
- C4 Energy
- FEEL Natural Energy Drink
- GURU Organic Energy Drink
- Hiball Energy
- Kill Cliff: Ignite Clean Energy
- Liquid I.V. Energy Multiplier (Mix)
- Monster Energy
- Mountain Dew Game Fuel Zero
- Mountain Dew Kickstart
- Ninja Melk Energy Drink
- NOS Energy Drink
- Red Bull
- Rockstar Energy Drink
- RUNA Clean Energy
- Sambazon Amazon Energy Drink
- Solimo Energy Drink (Amazon Brand)
- Starbucks Doubleshot Energy
- Strike Force Energy Drink Mix
- UPTIME Energy Drink
- V8 +Energy
- Wingman Smart Energy
- X2 Natural Energy Drink
- Yerba Mate (Organic Alternative to Energy)
- Zevia Energy Drink
Note: This is not necessarily a complete list. I just checked the most popular brands I could find. You can check other brands by looking at the back of the can. If it says “Nutrition Facts,” you can buy it with EBT.
Energy Drinks That Are Not EBT-Approved
The following energy drinks cannot be purchased with EBT. They have a “Supplement Facts” label, rather than a “Nutrition Facts” label:
- 5-hour Energy Shots
- CELSIUS Sparkling
- CUT Energy + Weight Loss (By Hydroxycut)
- FITAID Recovery Blend
- Jocko GO Energy Drink
- Jump Start Energy Shot
- Pureboost Clean Energy Drink Mix
- Zipfizz Healthy Energy Drink Mix
What Cannot Be Bought With EBT?
EBT can be used to buy food products (groceries), as well as plants and seeds (used to grow food). That’s all. (They are called “food” stamps, after all.)
EBT can’t be used to buy vitamins, medicine, alcohol, tobacco, hot foods and foods to be eaten in the store, hygiene products, pet food, or cosmetics. (source)
Can You Buy 5-Hour Energy With EBT?
5 Hour Energy is not EBT approved. If you check the back of the package, it says “Supplement Facts” rather than “Nutrition Facts.” This means it is being sold as a supplement, not as food. Food stamps only cover food.
I wanted to mention this briefly because 5 Hour Energy seems to be the most popular energy drink (or “shot”) that is not EBT-approved.
Where Can You Buy Energy Drinks With EBT?
You can buy EBT-approved energy drinks at supermarkets and grocery stores like Wal-Mart, Safeway, Albertson’s, Publix, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Target, and more. Supplement stores like Vitamin Shoppe and GNC do not usually accept EBT.
You can also buy energy drinks with EBT online at sites like Amazon. (See my list above for links to EBT-approved energy drinks on Amazon.)