Nutrition and Hydration Digest

The BDA’s Nutrition and Hydration Digest is a fundamental resource, providing expert knowledge and support for all involved in the provision of food and drink services in healthcare.

The Digest directly influences the standard of food and drink offered to patients across England, helping them to access to safe, nutritious and appropriate options that meet their dietary requirements.

There are two ways to access the Digest:

  1. Nutrition and Dietetic Practice section of the BDA website - an easy to navigate online version of the Digest, which is helpful when you’re looking for something quickly.
  2. A printable PDF version, available here, which is helpful for studying and research.
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Digest history

July 2023

Launch of the 3rd edition of the BDA Nutrition & Hydration Digest

July 2021

Consultation event for all dietitians to inform the review of the Digest

February 2021

Working party formed for the 3rd edition of the BDA Nutrition & Hydration Digest

July 2019

Update of the 2nd edition released to reflect the launch of IDDSI and updates to Neutropenic diet recommendations.

November 2017

Launch of the 2nd edition of the BDA Nutrition & Hydration Digest


The Nutrition & Hydration Digest brings a fundamental equality and necessity to healthcare food and drink. Throughout the Independent NHS Food Review and National Food Standards for Food and Drink, we based our intelligence around the expertise of our dietetic colleagues through the Digest. It is vital that we continue to refresh our publications to understand the everchanging challenges in healthcare catering, so it is a privilege to support and endorse the latest edition.

Philip Shelley, Chair NHS Food Review, Senior Operational & Policy Manager, NHS England

If we want patients to leave hospital better fed, or as well-fed, as when they came in, we need expert help on menus.  Diet is an individual thing, taking account of a patient’s current health, their medical problems, their cultural or religious beliefs, their allergies and likes and dislikes. Hospitals need expert help from dietitians, and not least from the excellent British Dietetic Association’s updated Nutrition and Hydration Digest.

Dame Prue Leith, Advisor to the 2022 Hospital Food Report

The Older People Specialist Group (OPSG) of the BDA are delighted to have supported this revised version of the Nutrition and Hydration Digest. We particularly welcome the emphasis made to the specific needs of older adults, who represent a significant proportion of those admitted to hospital. Delivering nutritious and tasty food and drink in hospital can be challenging and complex. This document will be an asset to the hospital workforce so that they can deliver this crucial food service and help make sure older adults meet their needs, recover well and importantly enjoy what they are eating and drinking.

Vittoria Romano, Chair of the BDA’s Older People Specialist Group

The Hospital Caterers Association congratulates the BDA’s Food Specialist Group on the publication of their third edition of the Nutrition and Hydration Digest. Dietitians join with the catering teams and nursing (the National Nutrition Nurses’ Group) to form the ‘Power of Three’ to help improve nutritional outcomes for all patients. As National Chair of the HCA, I am pleased to endorse this important publication, which forms the backbone of NHS Catering.

Brian Robb MIH, National Chair Director, Hospital Caterers Association