NHS Healthy Start scheme

Baby on the way

If you are pregnant or have a child under four you could be entitled to help getting fruit, vegetables, milk, and vitamins.

What is a Healthy Start card?

Healthy Start card

A Healthy Start card is a digital pre-paid card eligible people can use to buy healthy food and milk. You can also use it to collect vitamins. 

The card can be used in shops that are registered with the NHS Healthy Start scheme. This includes most major retailers.

People living in Scotland can get help from Best Start Foods instead. 

Who is the Healthy Start scheme for?

The Healthy Start scheme is for people who are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, and who receive certain benefits. 

You also qualify if you are under 18 years of age and more than 10 weeks pregnant, even if you do not receive benefits.  

If you previously received Healthy Start vouchers, you need to re-apply to continue getting help. 

What will I get? 

If you’re eligible for the Healthy Start scheme, you’ll get a card that’s topped up every four weeks: 

  • If you are pregnant, you will get £4.25 for each week of your pregnancy after week 10 
  • Children from birth to one year will get £8.50 each week  
  • Children between one and four will get £4.25 each week

You’ll get this money until your child’s fourth birthday. It will stop after this time, or if you stop receiving benefits. 
You can use the money to buy:

  • Cow’s milk or infant formula milk based on cow’s milk
  • Fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
  • Fresh, dried, and tinned pulses

You can also get: 

  • Vitamin tablets when you’re pregnant up to your baby’s first birthday
  • Vitamin drops for growing babies and children up to the age of four 
Last updated on 20 September 2023