Can You Buy Candy With SNAP, EBT, or Food Stamps?
This information is current as of July 27, 2022.
Do you have a craving for something sweet? Are you wondering if you can buy candy with SNAP, EBT, or Food Stamps?
Families with SNAP benefits can buy candy with their EBT cards. They can also purchase candy baskets, so long as over half of the worth is from food items.
Learn how to use your EBT card to buy some sweet treats today, including some fast facts about candy and the best way to add it to your monthly diet.
How the EBT Program Works
The EBT program, also known as SNAP, is a government assistance program. It’s designed to help eligible low-income Americans afford monthly food for their families.
If your family meets the criteria to participate in this program, you receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This card is preloaded monthly with government money and works like a prepaid debit card. You can use it at participating grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and some gas station convenience stores.
Which Candy Can You Buy With SNAP, EBT, or Food Stamps?
If you are shopping in a retail food store that accepts EBT payments, you should be able to buy any type of candy they sell.
You can even buy gift baskets full of candy if the value of nonfood items in the basket doesn’t exceed half of the overall cost. For example, you can buy a $10 Easter basket with at least $5.01 worth of candy.
You can’t use your EBT card to buy alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco, vitamins, medicine, supplements, live animals, hot pre-made food, and nonfood items such as cosmetics, pet food, and household supplies.
All other food items are fair game, including candy, fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, bread, cereal, other snack food, non-alcoholic beverages, seeds, and plants to grow food.
If you are unsure if your purchase is covered with your EBT card, you can always ask the cashier before you check out. Click here to see a complete list of items you can and cannot buy through the SNAP program.
How Much Candy Is Acceptable to Eat?
The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar daily for women and a maximum of nine teaspoons for men.
That’s roughly 100 and 150 calories, respectfully. A regular-sized Three Musketeers bar has 240 calories and approximately thirteen teaspoons of sugar.
It is best to avoid eating candy every day, but if you sit down to enjoy a good ole candy bar, a more realistic goal is to eat two to three pieces of it. Like most things in life, balance is key, especially when it comes to food consumption.
Consuming candy filled with sugar can be unhealthy but restricting yourself too much isn’t the best option either. We all crave a sweet treat in the form of a candy bar occasionally.
A good way to think about food is to follow the 80/20 rule. This means that 80 percent of the time, you focus on healthy, whole foods that give your body nutrients and energy. And the other 20 percent of the time, you indulge in something sweet, salty, or sour.
Some people choose to practice the 80/20 rule daily and may have some chocolate at night after a day of nutritious food. In contrast, others prefer to follow the rule weekly, eating whole foods for every meal most days and choosing to splurge for a day, calling it a “cheat day.”
Some people choose to practice the 80/20 rule daily and may have some chocolate at night after a day of nutritious food, while others prefer to follow the rule weekly, eating whole foods for every meal most days and choosing to splurge for a day, calling it a “cheat day”.
It is important to find a relationship with food that works for you, but remember, it’s okay to enjoy candy occasionally.
Healthier Candy Options to Buy with EBT
For a healthier candy option, try your favorite candy in the mini or fun-sized versions, such as Fun Sized Milk Chocolate M&M’s, York Peppermint Patties Miniatures, and Three Musketeers Mini Candy Bars.
Eating dark chocolate is a slightly healthier way to curb your sweet tooth. Look for nuts or dried fruit dipped in dark chocolate.
You can also find dark chocolate versions of your favorite candies such as Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Kisses, Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree Chocolate Squares, Ghiradelli 72 percent Cacao Dark Chocolate Squares, and Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.
Other healthier candy options include Almond Joys and Larabar Minis Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Those may also be healthier options if you see any candies that say low sugar, Keto, 100 calories, or protein bites.
If you want to get creative, you can make your own Take Five candy bar home using ingredients you can buy with your EBT card. Just pick some pretzels, peanut butter, dates, peanuts, chocolate chips, maca powder, vanilla, and salt. See the recipe here.
Signing Up for EBT
To sign up for EBT, you must first qualify based on gross and net income limits. These are determined by household size. To see a full breakdown of eligibility rules, click here.
Applying for SNAP varies based on your state, as each state has its own application form and process. Click here to see a map where you can click your state of residence to contact your local EBT program office.
Some states offer online or over-the-phone application processes. In contrast, in others, you may need to go in person and be interviewed.
Once you have signed up for EBT and received approval, you will receive an EBT card. These are loaded with monthly money and can be used at participating retail food stores such as grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and certain convenience stores.
Thousands of families across the United States rely on the EBT program to afford nutritious meals of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Even with these healthy options, sometimes, you just want some candy, and that’s okay.
With your EBT card, you can purchase candy for yourself or a gift basket full of candy for a special occasion, like a child’s birthday. There is no harm in indulging in your favorite treat – just remember to fill up on fruits and veggies 80 percent of the time, so you feel healthy and happy in the long run.
For more tips on making the most of your SNAP shopping, check out this article!
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
If you qualify for programs like SNAP, you may also be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs that help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.
Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.