Here at Sip & Savor we believe everyone has the right to make the food and beverage choices that are right for them.  Just because a family needs some help to afford groceries does not mean they can be forced to surrender that right.

Lately there’s been talk about limiting what people can buy with their SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps, to improve public health and save money. We know that dietary health is all about finding your balance – which doesn’t happen by imposing taxes or bans on individual products.  Government regulations of what you can or cannot put in your grocery cart is not an effective solution to the challenge of obesity and diabetes.

This past week we came across another article in the Washington Post about a proposal from a Missouri legislator to limit what people can buy with their food. The proposed bill would prohibit families with food stamps from buying things like cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak.

So what’s the rationale?  Apparently some lawmakers want to prevent people whose income is low from buying alleged “luxury” items like steak, and also make shopping decisions for them by banning ordinary grocery items that all Americans enjoy and can make part of a balanced diet.

"It just seems really repressive,” says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University and author of the book Living on the Edge: The Realities of Welfare in America.

Rank notes that stories about people using food stamps on so-called luxury items are not the norm. He says the majority of people receiving SNAP benefits still struggle to provide food for their families and that limiting their choices in the grocery aisles is unfair.

“More than anything else, I think this is about controlling people,” he says.

We agree.  SNAP restrictions are just another example of misguided policy. Even if well-intentioned, telling people what they can or cannot eat will not make anyone healthier. We can make those decisions on our own.  Instead, the government should be focused on real and lasting solutions like providing people with the information they need to achieve a balanced lifestyle.

To learn more about keeping the government out of your grocery cart visit