Skip to Content

Can You Buy Pre-Workout With EBT?

Can You Buy Pre-Workout With EBT?

Can you buy pre-workout with EBT? If you find that from time to time, you’re not sure what you can and cannot purchase with EBT (food stamps / SNAP), you’re not alone. Distinguishing between EBT eligible and ineligible items can be confusing. Low Income Relief has the scoop on pre-workout and whether it is covered by SNAP funds. Read on as we answer the question, can you buy pre-workout with EBT?

What is pre-workout?

Before we get to the nuance around purchasing pre-workout with EBT, let’s answer the question, what is pre-workout?

Pre-workout is something that many people take before their workouts, usually in the form of a powder that can be mixed with a liquid. Pre-workouts contain a number of compounds that enhance energy, focus, and a person’s ability to build muscle during a workout. Depending on the brand, pre-workout formulations may contain stimulants like caffeine, carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes, B vitamins, and more. 

The purpose of pre-workout is simply to supply your body with the energy you need to perform at your best. It’s worth noting that there is some controversy around ingredients in some brands of pre-workout, especially stimulants. Stimulants can cause heart palpitations and jittery feelings in some individuals. Be sure to consult a doctor if you choose to consume pre-workout before your workouts.  

chu gummies Yglr0p5Ygxg unsplash for

What EBT can and cannot be used for

EBT can be used to purchase food items, including fruits and vegetables, cheese, eggs, milk, meat, fish, bread, rice, snack foods, bakery items, and non-alcoholic beverages. You can also use food stamps to purchase seeds and plants that can be consumed as food. 

Food stamps cannot be used to purchase things like tobacco, alcohol, pet food, cleaning products, paper goods (e.g. toilet paper, disposable cups), personal hygiene products, cosmetics, makeup, diapers, formula, clothing, furniture, home decor, vitamins and supplements. 

The list above does not necessarily mention everything that can and cannot be purchased with EBT. A comprehensive list of items that cannot be purchased using SNAP benefits / food stamps is available on the USDA website

man doing pushups in article on can you buy pre-workout with ebt?

So, can you buy pre-workout with EBT?

Even when you understand the basics of what pre-workout is and what food stamps / EBT can and can’t be used to purchase, it still might not be clear whether pre-workout is covered under EBT.

The answer, however, is in the label. Pre-workout is typically labeled as a supplement, which cannot be purchased using EBT. If the pre-workout brand that you’re interested in has a label that says “dietary supplement” and/or it displays a label that says “supplement facts” (as opposed to “nutrition facts”), then you cannot use EBT to purchase the product. Worth noting, all the pre-workout brands that this author looked at in her research are considered to be supplements, and therefore not eligible for purchase with EBT. It does not seem that there are any pre-workout brands that are eligible for purchase with EBT.

alora griffiths TTrTW pFxKw unsplash for

What are some pre-workout alternatives?

While you might not be able to find an alternative as easy to consume as a pre-workout beverage, there are EBT-eligible options that will deliver most of the same nutrients that pre-workout supplements do. 

Foods containing protein, like oatmeal, eggs, and peanut butter can give you a great boost before a workout. Whole fruits with a high natural sugar content, like apples and bananas can also supply the energy you need to sustain a tough workout. And if you’re looking for a dose of the caffeine that pre-workout formulations sometimes offer, then you can’t go wrong with a strong cup of coffee or tea. 

Better yet, while pre-workout isn’t covered by EBT, many protein powders are! Again, just be sure to check the label. If the label on a protein powder lists “nutrition facts”, and does not mention that it is a “dietary supplement” or list “supplement facts”, then it should be covered by EBT. 

While EBT does not currently cover pre-workout, there are some creative options to get the most out of your workout!

Save Money and Get Free Stuff!

Catherine Hall, LMSW is a therapist at a small group practice in New York City. She earned her master of social work degree at New York University.