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National Chef promotes Best Start Foods pre-paid card to feed your family

National Chef Gary Maclean is standing in a kitchen holding a giant Best Start Foods card

Award-winning chef and Masterchef star Gary Maclean has urged people to check if they are now eligible for a benefit which helps with the cost of buying healthy food, milk and first infant formula.

Best Start Foods provides eligible people with up to £42.40 every four weeks during pregnancy until children turn three, via a pre-paid card.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government extended eligibility by removing income limits. Now, anyone who gets a qualifying benefit, and is pregnant or has a child under 3, is eligible - regardless of their other income.

Other rule changes made it simpler for young parents to get the benefit. People under 18 do not need to be getting a qualifying benefit to access Best Start Foods. This the same for people who are 18 or 19 and dependent on someone getting benefits for them.

Helping to raise awareness of the payment Gary, who became Scotland’s first National Chef in 2017, has shared advice on how to use Best Start Foods money to buy healthy and nutritious food and make it go further.

In a specially-produced video, Gary describes the benefits of eating healthy food during pregnancy, gives top tips on batch cooking and the advantages of buying in-season fruit and veg.

He also describes how local convenience stores will accept Best Start Foods cards, as well as large supermarkets.

Join the National Chef and help us spread the word about expanded eligibility for Best Start Foods encouraging people to check eligibility and apply as soon as they are pregnant.

Videos and other resources including social media posts, posters and factsheets in different languages are available to download for free.

Anyone who thinks they may be eligible can find out more and apply online, over the phone or book an appointment to apply in-person, by visiting Or they can call us free on 0800 182 2222.

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