What Fast Food Takes Food Stamps? A Complete Guide

It’s no secret that fast food has become a staple in American diets. It’s quick, easy, and unfortunately, often cheaper than healthier options. But did you know that certain fast food chains now accept food stamps as payment? That’s right – you can now use government assistance to purchase meals from some of the biggest names in fast food.

While the idea of using food stamps for fast food may seem controversial, it can be a practical solution for those in low-income households who may not have access to a fully equipped kitchen or the time to cook meals from scratch. Plus, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on the economy, more families are turning to government assistance than ever before. So, what fast food chains are accepting food stamps, and is it a smart choice for those struggling to make ends meet?

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of using food stamps at fast food restaurants. We’ll take a look at the pros and cons of this practice, as well as provide a list of some of the fast food chains that currently accept food stamps. Whether you agree with the idea or not, it’s important to understand the options available to those who are facing financial difficulties. So, grab a burger and read on to learn more.

Overview of Food Stamps and Fast Food

Food stamp, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal program designed to help low-income individuals and families to purchase food. The benefits provided to eligible individuals are issued through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card and can be used to purchase food at authorized retailers.

Fast food, on the other hand, refers to food that is prepared and served quickly in fast food restaurants, usually at a low cost. Fast food is convenient, easily accessible, and can be a popular choice for people who are always on-the-go or do not have the time or resources to cook at home.

  • Benefits of Food Stamps
  • Eligibility for Food Stamps
  • Authorized Retailers for Food Stamps

With the increasing popularity of fast food, many people have wondered whether food stamps can be used to purchase fast food items. The answer is both yes and no. While there are no specific restrictions on using food stamps to purchase fast food, not all fast food chains accept food stamps as a form of payment.

According to the USDA, fast food restaurants can be authorized to accept EBT cards as payment, provided that they meet certain criteria. These criteria include a minimum of 50 percent of their total food sales being eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits, the ability to process EBT transactions in their establishments, and the implementation of certain policies to prevent fraud.

Fast Food Chains that Accept EBT Cards
Burger King
Taco Bell
Pizza Hut
Domino’s Pizza

It is also important to note that even if a fast food chain does accept food stamps as a form of payment, not all of their menu items will be eligible for purchase with EBT cards. Only food items that are considered “basic” or “staple” foods are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. This includes items such as bread, milk, fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, and fish.

Overall, while some fast food chains do accept food stamps as a form of payment, it is important to remember that SNAP benefits are intended to be used for basic food items and not for indulgent or unhealthy food choices.

History of Food Stamps

Food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), were first introduced in 1939 as a way to provide assistance to low-income families who were struggling to put food on the table. At the time, the program was only available in a handful of cities across the United States, and the exchange of physical stamps was used to purchase food at authorized retailers.

Over the years, the program has undergone many changes and expansions. In the 1960s, the program began using a payment card system, replacing the physical stamps. In the 1970s, the program’s eligibility requirements were expanded to include more low-income families, and benefit amounts were increased to better reflect the rising cost of food. In the 1990s, the program was streamlined and modernized with the introduction of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards and the elimination of paper coupons.

What Fast Food Takes Food Stamps

  • Taco Bell
  • KFC
  • McDonald’s

Impact of Fast Food on SNAP Recipients

Fast food is generally not considered to be the healthiest or most nutritious option for families on a tight budget, but the convenience and affordability of fast food restaurants can make them an appealing choice for SNAP recipients. Some advocates and policymakers argue that fast food restaurants should not be authorized to accept SNAP benefits, as they contribute to poor health outcomes and the perpetuation of poverty.

Others argue that fast food restaurants are simply meeting a demand for affordable, accessible food options, and that denying SNAP recipients the ability to use their benefits at these establishments would unfairly limit their choices. Ultimately, the question of whether fast food should be allowed to accept SNAP benefits remains a contentious issue, with arguments on both sides.

Fast Food and SNAP Eligibility Requirements

Fast food restaurants are not automatically authorized to accept SNAP benefits. In order to do so, these establishments must meet certain eligibility requirements, including offering a certain percentage of healthy food items on their menus and providing certain nutritional information to customers. The exact requirements vary by state, but in general, fast food restaurants must meet stricter standards than other types of retailers in order to be authorized to accept SNAP benefits.

State % of Healthy Items Required Nutritional Information Required
California 50% Calorie information
Arizona 50% Calorie information
Texas 80% Calorie information and nutritional content for all items

These eligibility requirements are meant to promote the consumption of healthy foods and help ensure that SNAP benefits are being used in ways that support the overall health and well-being of low-income families and individuals.

Criteria for Food Stamps Eligibility

Food stamps, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a government-funded program that provides assistance to low-income families and individuals in purchasing food. To be eligible for food stamps, applicants must meet specific criteria. The following are the criteria for food stamps eligibility:

  • Income Guidelines: To determine food stamp eligibility, the government uses a formula that compares an applicant’s income to the poverty line. The poverty line varies based on household size, but generally, applicants must have a gross income at or below 130% of the poverty line to qualify.
  • Residency Criteria: To be eligible for food stamps, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen. Additionally, the applicant must reside in the state where they are applying for benefits.
  • Work Requirements: Applicants between the ages of 16 and 60 must be able to work and actively seek employment to be eligible for food stamps. However, certain exemptions may apply, such as a physical or mental disability or being responsible for the care of a young child or incapacitated adult.
  • Asset Limits: Food stamp applicants must have limited assets to qualify for benefits. Generally, households must have less than $2,250 in assets if at least one member is not elderly or disabled. For households with an elderly or disabled member, the asset limit is $3,500.

Exclusions from the Food Stamps Program

While the government provides financial assistance for low-income households to access food, not all food purchases are eligible for food stamps benefits. The following are exclusions from the food stamps program:

  • Non-Food Items: Food stamps cannot be used to purchase non-food items such as cleaning supplies, pet food, tobacco, or alcohol.
  • Fast Food: Fast food restaurants, such as McDonald’s or Burger King, do not accept food stamps as payment.
  • Prepared Foods: Hot or prepared food items purchased at a grocery store, such as a rotisserie chicken or deli sandwiches, are not eligible for food stamp benefits.

Food Stamps and Fast Food

While fast food restaurants do not accept food stamps as payment, there is a broader discussion around whether food stamps should be used to purchase fast food. At present, the policy of not allowing food stamp benefits to be used at fast food restaurants remains in place. However, some cities and states have implemented programs that offer food stamp recipients the ability to purchase meals at certain fast food restaurants. The program is intended to improve access to healthy meals for those who may not live near a grocery store and cannot purchase fresh produce.

Benefits of the Program Challenges with the Program
– Increased access to healthy meals for those who may not have other options
– Convenient option for those without access to a kitchen
– Encourages healthy menu options at participating fast food restaurants
– Fear of increased fast food consumption
– Potential for misuse of benefits by recipients
– Limited number of participating restaurants

While the idea of using food stamps at fast food restaurants is controversial, it remains a topic of ongoing discussion. For now, food stamp recipients are limited to making eligible food purchases at grocery stores and farmers markets.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program in the United States that helps low-income individuals and families to purchase healthy and nutritious food. The program provides food assistance to millions of eligible individuals and families through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.

  • SNAP provides benefits to 40 million people in the United States and helps alleviate food insecurity.
  • The average monthly benefit per person is $121.40, and the maximum monthly benefit for a household of four is $680.
  • SNAP benefits can only be used to buy certain food items and cannot be used to purchase hot prepared foods or nonfood items like cleaning supplies or toiletries.

In order to qualify for SNAP benefits, individuals must meet certain income and resource eligibility requirements. The income eligibility limit for a household of four is $2,720 per month, and the resource limit is $2,250.

For those that qualify for SNAP benefits, it’s important to understand what types of foods are eligible for purchase with the EBT card. Foods that can be purchased with SNAP benefits include:

Eligible Foods Ineligible Foods
Fruits and vegetables Hot prepared foods
Meat, poultry, and fish Nonfood items like cleaning supplies or toiletries
Bread and cereals Alcoholic beverages or tobacco
Dairy products Restaurant meals

SNAP benefits can be used at many grocery stores, farmers markets, and even some fast food chains like Subway, Taco Bell, and KFC if they meet certain criteria. Not all fast food chains accept SNAP benefits, so it’s important to check with the restaurant beforehand.

Nutritional Guidelines for Food Stamps

Food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal program that provides support for low-income individuals and families to purchase food. However, not all food items are eligible for purchase with food stamps. The goal of the program is to promote healthy eating habits and provide nutritious options for those who need it most. To achieve this, there are certain nutritional guidelines that must be followed.

  • Fruit and vegetables: These are the most important components of a healthy diet. SNAP recipients are encouraged to purchase fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce is preferred, but if that is not an option, then frozen or canned without added sugar, salt, or fat can be purchased with SNAP benefits.
  • Whole grains: At least half of the grains purchased with SNAP benefits should be whole grains. These include brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain bread.
  • Lean protein: Protein is essential for growth and development. SNAP recipients can purchase lean meats such as chicken or turkey, fish, eggs, beans, and tofu. Processed meat such as hot dogs or bacon are not recommended.

In addition to these guidelines, the USDA has created a food guide for SNAP recipients that emphasizes the importance of variety, moderation, and proportionality in food choices. The guide includes recommendations for each food group and a list of foods that should be limited or avoided.

It is important to note that not all fast food restaurants accept food stamps. In fact, only a limited number of fast food restaurants accept SNAP benefits and they are typically located in areas where there are no grocery stores or farmers’ markets nearby. These restaurants must also adhere to the nutritional guidelines set forth by the USDA and the SNAP program.

Fast Food Restaurant Items Eligible for Purchase with SNAP Benefits (as of 2021)
Subway Most sandwiches and salads (excluding certain items like footlong subs, cookies, and chips)
Taco Bell Bean burritos, cinnamon twists, and potato soft tacos
KFC Most chicken meals (excluding certain items like tenders and popcorn chicken)

It is clear that the SNAP program places a strong emphasis on healthy eating habits and nutritious food options. While not all fast food restaurants accept SNAP benefits, those that do have limited menus and must adhere to strict nutritional guidelines. By following these guidelines and making smart food choices, SNAP recipients can maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

Fast Food Chains Accepting Food Stamps

Food stamps, also known as SNAP benefits, are a government-funded program that provides assistance to low-income families to purchase food. Fast food establishments have generated a lot of attention for accepting SNAP benefits. While it may seem unlikely for fast-food chains to accept food stamps due to its unhealthy reputation, it makes sense. Being able to purchase a $5 meal at a fast-food chain is a more affordable option than buying groceries and cooking at home for families who are struggling financially.

  • McDonald’s
  • With over 14,000 locations in the United States, McDonald’s is one of the largest fast-food chains that accept SNAP. McDonald’s is not only known for its iconic burgers but also offers other affordable options such as chicken nuggets and breakfast items that can be purchased with SNAP benefits.

  • KFC
  • KFC is another fast-food chain that accepts SNAP benefits. The popular fried chicken restaurant offers several budget-friendly options that can be purchased with SNAP. However, keep in mind that many states impose restrictions on fried food purchased with SNAP benefits.

  • Subway
  • Subway is a healthier fast-food option that accepts SNAP benefits. The sandwich chain offers footlong subs under $5, making it an affordable and nutritious meal that can be purchased with SNAP benefits.

Fast food chains have been a controversial topic when it comes to accepting SNAP benefits. The USDA has conducted several studies on the impact of fast food on Americans’ diets. While no clear results have been found, it’s essential to keep in mind that fast food should be an occasional treat and not a daily meal option.

If you’re wondering what other fast-food chains accept SNAP benefits, below is a table of other popular chains that allow the use of SNAP benefits.

Fast Food Chain Accepted Payment Methods
Domino’s SNAP, EBT
Burger King SNAP, EBT
Taco Bell SNAP, EBT

As with any fast food purchase, it’s essential to make wise choices when using SNAP benefits. While it may be tempting to purchase a large meal, keep in mind that a balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Food Stamps Use at Convenience Stores

Convenience stores are one of the most prevalent types of retail establishments in the US. They are found in almost every neighborhood, and many of them accept food stamps as payment for eligible purchases. This is particularly important for low-income families who may not have access to full-service grocery stores in their area, as they can purchase basic food items such as bread, milk, and canned goods from convenience stores using their food stamp benefits.

  • In order to accept food stamps, convenience stores must apply to become authorized SNAP retailers.
  • Authorized retailers must meet certain criteria such as selling a variety of food items, ensuring that at least 50% of their total sales come from eligible food items, and maintaining accurate records of all transactions.
  • Convenience stores that are authorized SNAP retailers may choose to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program, which allows customers to pay for their purchases using a debit card that is loaded with their food stamp benefits.

It’s important to note that not all convenience stores are authorized to accept food stamps. Customers should look for the SNAP/EBT logo displayed at the store’s entrance or on the cash register to confirm whether or not their benefits can be used there.

In addition to being a convenient option for low-income families, the availability of food stamp use at convenience stores can also benefit small business owners in low-income areas by increasing the customer base and promoting economic growth.

Advantages of food stamp use at convenience stores Disadvantages of food stamp use at convenience stores
– Increased customer base – Limited food options
– Potential for increased revenue – Possibility of fraud or abuse
– Convenient option for low-income families – Limited access to healthier food choices

In conclusion, food stamp use at convenience stores provides a convenient option for low-income families who may not have access to full-service grocery stores. While there may be some disadvantages associated with this option, the potential benefits for both customers and small business owners make it an important option to have available.

Effect of Fast Food on Public Health

Fast food has been a staple of the American diet for decades. It is convenient and cheap, which makes it an attractive choice for people with busy lifestyles and limited budgets. However, the effects of fast food on public health cannot be ignored. Here are some of the ways in which fast food impacts our health:

  • Obesity: Eating fast food regularly can contribute to weight gain and obesity, which in turn increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.
  • High blood pressure: Many fast food items are high in sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
  • Diabetes: Fast food is often high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

It is important to note that fast food is not the sole cause of these health problems. A diet high in processed foods and low in whole foods like fruits and vegetables can also be a contributing factor.

However, fast food is often more readily available and affordable than healthier options, which makes it a tempting choice for many people. Additionally, fast food restaurants often market their products with large portion sizes and calorie-dense options, which can contribute to overeating and further exacerbate the negative health effects.

To get a better understanding of the nutritional content of fast food options, take a look at this table:

Food Item Calories Sodium (mg) Sugar (g)
Hamburger 250 480 6
French Fries 340 170 0
Chicken Nuggets 320 510 0

These numbers show that fast food options often contain high levels of calories, sodium, and sugar, which can contribute to negative health outcomes over time.

Accessibility of Healthy Food to Low-Income Communities

One of the biggest challenges faced by low-income communities is accessing healthy food options. Many of these areas do not have access to grocery stores that carry fresh fruits and vegetables, and instead rely on convenience stores and fast food restaurants as their primary source of food. This can lead to a lack of nutrition and higher rates of obesity and other diet-related health problems.

Fast Food and Food Stamps

  • Fast food restaurants, such as McDonald’s, KFC, and Subway, are some of the most commonly used food stamp retailers.
  • While fast food chains are not required to accept food stamps, many do in order to attract low-income customers.
  • However, the food available at these establishments is often high in calories, fat, and sodium, and lacking in nutrients.

The Importance of Accessing Healthy Food

Accessing healthy food is crucial for overall health and well-being. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help prevent chronic diseases and improve overall quality of life. In order to create healthy communities, it is necessary to increase access to healthy food options in low-income areas.

Efforts have been made to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to these communities through farmers markets, community gardens, and mobile markets. However, more work is needed in order to create sustainable access to healthy food for everyone.


While fast food chains may accept food stamps, it is important to remember that the food available at these establishments is not always the healthiest option. Accessing healthy food is a necessary part of creating healthy communities, and more work needs to be done to ensure that everyone has access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Fast Food Chains that Accept Food Stamps
Dunkin’ Donuts
Burger King


  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/07/23/fast-food-restaurants-tend-accept-food-stamps-you-could-thank-yum-taco-bell-kfc-pizza-hut/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6749944/

The Politics of Fast Food and Food Stamps

When it comes to fast food and food stamps, there is no denying the political nature of this topic. Both the fast food industry and the government have a stake in how food stamps are used, and this can lead to tension and controversy.

  • One argument often made against fast food being eligible for food stamp purchases is that these foods are often highly processed and lacking in nutritional value. Some politicians and public health advocates have called for restrictions on what types of foods can be purchased with food stamps, citing concerns about obesity and other health issues.
  • On the other hand, the fast food industry has pushed back against these restrictions, arguing that they are discriminatory and would unfairly limit food choices for low-income individuals. Some fast food companies have even launched marketing campaigns targeting food stamp recipients, touting the convenience and affordability of their products.
  • Additionally, there is also debate about the role of the government in regulating food choices. Some argue that such regulations are necessary to protect public health, while others believe that individuals should have the right to make their own choices, even if those choices are not always healthy.

Overall, the politics of fast food and food stamps are complex, and there is no easy solution to the issues at hand. However, it is clear that this is an important topic that deserves continued attention and discussion.

Below is a table of some popular fast food chains and whether or not they accept food stamps:

Fast Food Chain Accepts Food Stamps?
McDonald’s Yes
Burger King Yes
Taco Bell Yes
Subway Yes

It’s important to note that just because a fast food chain accepts food stamps does not necessarily mean that all of their items are eligible for purchase with food stamps. However, this table gives a general idea of which chains are set up to accept food stamps as a form of payment.

Until Next Time, Keep Eating!

Well, there you have it – a comprehensive list of fast food restaurants that accept food stamps. We hope that this article has been helpful to you and has inspired you to try out some new places. Remember, just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the convenience and taste of fast food. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check back soon for more interesting and informative articles!