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

Thursday, 18 May 2023

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

Story credits

More information is available from Jane Icke, Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Science on


Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
Phone: 0115 7486462

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

More news…

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798