What Food Rules Do You Live By? {A Giveaway!}

I’ve never really liked the word “rules.” I’ve always been of the opinion that rules are meant to be broken. That being said, when things get out of hand, often rules are the only thing we have to get us back in line, and that certainly applies to food. In our world of fast food, pesticides and mass produced processed junk, maybe we could do with a few rules?

Win a Holstee Food Rules poster on Foodie Underground

I came across the Food Rules poster, originally printed by the U.S. Food Administration in 1917, awhile ago and loved it.

In our modern world, most of the time we’re very focused on what new innovations will help us to live better, but often it’s as simple as taking a look backwards to find the solutions for how we best move forward.

If there was anything to guide us towards eating better, both for ourselves and the planet, this list of rules is it.

  1. Buy it with thought.
  2. Cook it with care.
  3. Use less wheat & meat.
  4. Buy local foods.
  5. Serve just enough.
  6. Use what is left.

You might think that eating local and opting for vegetarian fare is a new trend, but turns out it’s an approach to food that the government was advocating around your great-grandmother’s time. It’s a timeless approach to eating, and if you were to pick one set of rules to guide you in your kitchen and at the market, it should be this one.

The great thing about these rules is that they don’t really feel like “rules.” No one is telling you not to eat cake, or that you have to skip out on a certain ingredient, but instead it’s simply a well rounded approach to choosing your food and what you put on your plate. It’s a set of guidelines for intentional eating and living.

I’m not the only one that loves this set of guidelines. The people at Holstee loved it so much they decided to print a new version of the poster – printed on a letterpress in the US of course. And they took the rules to inspire their new Food Rules collection. You may know Holstee from their manifesto. It’s that gorgeous and inspirational print that starts “This is your life, do what you love and do it often.” I love that they’ve taken the same design savvy and applied it to food related objects.

Win a coasters and a Holstee Food Rules poster on Foodie Underground

The other cool thing that Holstee is doing right now is their Global Potluck series. Get some friends together, share a meal and some good conversation, and Holstee will give $25 to Food Corps, which will enable one child to receive an entire year of nutrition education, garden lessons, cooking classes and improved access to healthy food in the school cafeteria. Now that’s a good reason to throw a dinner party.

In celebration of the new year, which means yet another year to eat well and responsibly, we’re teaming up with Holstee to give away a Food Rules poster and a set of funky coasters, made from reclaimed wood and printed with funky neon designs. Hang that poster in your kitchen and use it for inspiration in your cooking, and invite some friends over for a celebratory drink and put these coasters to use.

To win, tell us what food rules you live by in the comments below by January 16, 2014. If you’re up for it, you can also enter on Instagram. Head on over to the Foodie Underground account for more info. (Note that we can only ship to North America!)

I hope that in looking at how you eat and shop this year, this set of rules will help in guiding you in the right direction.

Comments 19

  1. Sophie

    I first heard about Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” on your blog- and my eating habits are so much better because of it! Obviously the “eat food, not too much, mostly plants” mantra sticks with me, but I also maintain a few more:

    -eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full
    -limit added sugars to under six teaspoons a day
    -eat out less than once a week/cook as much as possible
    -don’t waste any food
    -allow yourself to indulge every once in a while!

  2. Beth

    Eat only real food in its most food-like state (no boxes, bags, pouches or cans) and avoid added sugars like the plague.

  3. Erin Ellis

    I follow the rule of the less ingredients, the better! Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    fairyfractal at gmail dot com

  4. Ashley

    Eat lots of nourishing fats, a bit of grass-fed meat, and greens, greens, greens. Treat each meal as a ritual and savor the time with yourself. Pun intended.

  5. Jane

    Great post! Love the poster. Too bad the government’s owned by a bunch of corporations these days. Sigh…. So my rules:

    Eat lots of veggies
    Cook from scratch and at home as often as possible
    Watch sugar intake

  6. Andrea (aka rokinrev)

    We are localvores in part because we receive SNAP benefits, in part because we have no car, and in part because we eat as cleanly as possible. With our Regional Market a mile or so away, and our propensity towards Asian food choices, we eat fresh when we can

  7. Todd

    My personal rules:

    * Eat only plants
    * Local & seasonal is best
    * Support small farmers, and buy directly from them when you can
    * Fair-trade when possible, especially for the luxuries (coffee/chocolate/bananas/etc.)
    * Choose minimally processed foods; home-cooked is best
    * Less packaging is better, none at all is best
    * More protein, healthy fats & fiber, less salt and sugar
    * Whenever possible, eat with friends and family

  8. Shea Smith

    My simple food rule: “Eat well. Live full.”


    Stick to the most natural state of the food no colors, preservatives, additives just raw.

  10. julie

    “cook it with care”

    i grew up in a home where we ate dinner together almost every night. not that everything was a gourmet meal (though almost always homemade and always with a green salad included!), but my parents instilled in me the importance of cooking healthfully and sharing meals with those you love.

  11. Rosemary Starkey

    Use what you have to make soups,etc. Don’t waste anything. Keep it healthy!

  12. Wally Graeber

    As a DC FoodCorps service member, my Top 5 rules are inspired by my students.
    – Retain food knowledge through your 5 senses.
    – Eat a Rainbow.
    – Only take what you will eat.
    – Compost your leftovers for the worms.
    – Be an active part of YOUR food system.

    Happy Planting, Watering, Harvesting, Cooking, Eating, and Composting!

  13. Leah M

    As someone, a student, with a severe reaction to gluten and diagnosed with gluten intolerance, my biggest rule is to listen to my body about food. Eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, don’t eat things that make me feel awful, don’t be afraid of simple meals when I don’t feel up to cooking or when I don’t have much around.

  14. kayla k

    Don’t eat fast food.
    Eat less, more often.
    Have a color triad at every meal.
    No carbs after 8pm. (this is hard for me)

  15. Jessica

    That poster would be perfect in my kitchen as it pretty much sums up how we eat. Sub categories:
    – GMO-free & organic
    – “Who’s Your Farmer?” (Sticker I sport from our local farmers market)
    – Homemade is always better (unless its a box of Annies mac and cheese which is the ONLY mac and cheese my 3 year old will eat….)

  16. Heidi Huckabee

    My food rule is to eat as close to the earth as possible. This is similar to Beth’s rules up there.

  17. Anna H.

    The food rule that I’ve followed since I was a kid was to “never waste food.”

  18. D Harrelson

    I look to: Make a new recipe and a favorite recipe each week.

  19. Stephanie

    Vegetables are sunshine incarnate- true energy.
    Feed your body’s biome with fermented foods.
    Dairy, if it works, and if it worked for your ancestors.
    Ain’t no shame if you and whole wheat don’t get along. Use judiciously if you do.
    Fats are your friend.
    Sugar is not.
    Alcohol with friends (and in moderation).
    Plenty of quality water.
    Listen to your body.

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