No diet score exists that summarizes the features of a diet that is optimal for bone mineral density (BMD) in the elderly. Our aims were (a) to develop a BMD-Diet Score reflecting a diet that may be beneficial for BMD based on the existing literature, and (b) to examine the association of the BMD-Diet Score and the Healthy Diet Indicator, a score based on guidelines of the World Health Organization, with BMD in Dutch elderly participating in a prospective cohort study, the Rotterdam Study (n = 5144). Baseline dietary intake, assessed using a food frequency questionnaire, was categorized into food groups. Food groups that were consistently associated with BMD in the literature were included in the BMD-Diet Score. BMD was measured repeatedly and was assessed using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The BMD-Diet Score considered intake of vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, legumes/beans and dairy products as "high-BMD" components and meat and confectionary as "low-BMD" components. After adjustment, the BMD-Diet Score was positively associated with BMD (beta (95% confidence interval) = 0.009 (0.005, 0.012) g/cm(2) per standard deviation). This effect size was approximately three times as large as has been observed for the Healthy Diet Indicator. The food groups included in our BMD-Diet Score could be considered in the development of future dietary guidelines for healthy ageing.