Information and practical guides

For families, health professionals and Healthy Start coordinators

The Department of Health Healthy Start website

This site provides details on eligibility for Healthy Start, an online application form and information on where Healthy Start vouchers can be spent. Additionally, it provides links for practitioners to order hard copies of Healthy Start application forms and Department of Health leaflets on the scheme.

Making the Most of Healthy Start: A practical guide

  • Information on the Healthy Start scheme and what can be bought with the Healthy Start food vouchers
  • Recipes for family meals, with photos of appropriate portion sizes for infants, children and adults
  • Simple ideas for eating well on a budget, and
  • Ideas for complementary food and finger foods for infants from 6 months of age

Eating Well Recipe Book: simple cost-effective ideas for the whole family

This book provides a range of recipes that include ingredients that can be bought with Healthy Start vouchers. Recipes include photos of portion sizes for infants, children and adults.

Quick information sheets

What does the Healthy Start scheme aim to do?

Using Healthy Start food vouchers to support eating well

What can you buy with Healthy Start food vouchers

Tips for keeping food shopping costs down

A simple guide to choosing infant formula and milks for infants and young children

Using Journey Maps to support delivery of Healthy Start in local areas: short guide and resources.

This short guide for professionals that deliver the Healthy Start scheme introduces the concept of journey mapping and provides a journey mapping checklist and model that can support local areas to enhance practice in the delivery of Healthy Start.

NICE Public Guidance 11: Improving the nutrition and diet of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children in low-income households

This guidance provides expert advice on how Healthy Start should be used to support low-income families.

Additional information on Healthy Start

Healthy Start was evaluated for the first time in 2013. The following three links will take you to the evaluation reports and an article based on one of the evaluations.

Lucas, P.J., Jessiman, T., Cameron, A., Wiggins, M. & Austerberry, K.H.C. 2013, “Healthy Start Vouchers Study: The Views and Experiences of Parents, Professionals and Small Retailers in England”, University of Bristol, Bristol.

McFadden, A., Fox-Rushby, J., Green, J.M., Williams, V., Pokhrel, S., McLeish, J., McCormick, F., Anokye, N., Dritsaki, M. & McCarthy, R. 2013, Healthy Start: Understanding the use of vitamins and vouchers, University of Dundee. Dundee

Jessiman, T., Cameron, A., Wiggins, M. & Lucas, P.J. 2013, “A qualitative study of uptake of free vitamins in England”, Archives of Disease in Childhood. Vol.98. Issue 8