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Nutritious recipes created using only food bank ingredients, a kettle and microwave

A Nottingham student has created a series of recipes using common ingredients provided by food banks that are cooked with just a kettle and microwave, in a bid to help families create healthy and filling meals.

Third year University of Nottingham student Sophie Conant is studying dietetics and has developed 12 recipes using only tins and packets after identifying the need for these whilst volunteering at a local food bank.

When I handed a package over to a lady at a food bank she looked in and said ‘I don’t know what to do with all this as I only have a microwave and kettle, how will I make meals for my kids?’ That made me realise that there is a need for some sort of guidance for people to help them make the most of the food they are given, and as a dietetics student I had the skills to try to do this.

Sophie Conant, student, School of Biosciences

Sophie enlisted the help of some other students to create meals that could be cooked just using the kettle or microwave. Some of the dishes they created include; shepherd’s pie, creamy mushroom pasta, sausage casserole, Mexican rice and risotto. Only one of the recipes, chickpea burgers, needed a cooker.

“By combining ingredients and introducing tinned veg or fruit we were able to boost the nutritional value,” added Sophie, “One good example of this was when we took a pot noodle, which isn’t particularly nutritious in itself and added hot dog sausages and tinned vegetables to increase the quantity and nutrients.”

All of the recipes have been put into a recipe booklet, ‘Easy Budget Meals’, with step-by-step instructions and pictures to make them easy to follow. They will be distributed free of charge at food banks in Nottingham and Loughborough.

This is such a great example of how the skills we teach here can be applied to help improve health and nutrition. Sophie took this project on alongside her studies and spent a lot of her own free time developing these recipes. We’re really proud of what she and her fellow students have achieved.

Jane Musson, Assistant Professor in Dietetics, University of Nottingham

Sophie adds: “I’ve really enjoyed this project and hope it helps people, some of the dishes we were able to make surprised me and I will definitely be using them myself as cost effective and nutritious meals.”

The recipe booklet can be downloaded here: Easy Budget Meals.