The nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell lies anatomically at a critical intersection within the brain's reward system circuitry, however, its role in voluntary choice behavior remains unclear. Rats with electrolytic lesions in the NAc shell were tested in a novel foraging paradigm. Over a continuous two-week period they freely chose among four nutritionally identical but differently flavored food pellets by pressing corresponding levers. We examined the lesion's effects on three behavioral dynamics components: motivation (when to eat), preference bias (what to choose) and persistence (how long to repeat the same choice). The lesion led to a marked increase in the preference bias: i.e., increased selection of the most-preferred choice option, and decreased selection of the others. We found no effects on any other behavioral measures, suggesting no effect on motivation or choice persistence. The results implicate the NAc shell in moderating the instrumental valuation process by inhibiting excessive bias toward preferred choice options.