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Blogs / 13.10.2023

Maxine Cartz tells us about the newest edition of the British Dietetic Association Nutrition & Hydration Digest

Myself and my colleague Helen Ream, within our British Dietetic Association roles have been working with a group of dietitians and caterers, on the new Nutrition & Hydration Digest. The Digest is very close to both our hearts. I led the working group for the 1st edition in 2012 and Helen managed the team for the 2nd edition in 2017.

The Digest is a set of guiding principles, that works alongside the National Standards for Food and Drink in Healthcare.

The updated Digest launched recently at a special event hosted at the Welcome Collection. The event was attended by people from across our industry, so I was pleased to see this work recognised and how important it will be to raising the bar further for hospital food. 

This is the third edition of the BDA Nutrition & Hydration Digest and the work has evolved since 2021 when a group of 35 Dietitians and Caterers from across the UK started to form the documents, to reflect the most recent nutritional evidence and legislative changes.

The BDA’s Nutrition and Hydration Digest is a fundamental resource for all involved in the provision of food and drink services in healthcare. It is now part of the National Standards for Healthcare Food and Drink, meaning that all NHS Trusts in England must comply with the nutrition standards outlined in the Digest. It provides expert knowledge and support for professionals working in the healthcare food service sector.

I truly enjoyed working on the Digest, to ensure it reflects recent nutritional evidence and the current operational challenges in healthcare food service. Some of the updates include a new chapter on sustainability; updates to the nutritional standards to meet the latest evidence, including a higher protein target and menu code; business case guidance to support the implementation of new food service dietitian roles; and alignment with the new National Standards for Healthcare Food and Drink.

Food has so many important benefits and the recognition of this continues to grow. This document, alongside the standards are gaining momentum, supporting hospitals across the UK to offer the best nutrition possible and advise on sustainable ways to do this.

From the perspective of my role, I would emphasise the importance of the work we do in informing the industry and upholding service levels. I was very proud to be part of the working group, to shine a light on this important issue.

You can read the online version here -



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