"I enjoy cooking with Nicky because she explains and helps me to understand what certain foods will help me and what helps my body."

One of our Support Workers, Nicky has been developing a ‘Five Meals for Fiver’ project over recent months to support our young people with cooking and eating healthily, while helping them to understand why this promotes good emotional and physical health. With the additional aim of developing low-cost meals, Nicky has been kind enough to explain and share some of her yummy recipes for our supporters to enjoy too, especially as we all find ourselves in the middle of the cost-of-living crisis.

“The original idea behind Five Meals for a Fiver was to teach young people how to cook cheap, healthy and nutritious foods whilst exploring the link between good mental health and good nutrition. Unfortunately there seems to be an emphasis on making food fast and convenient, to fit in with our busy lives, rather than on educating us about what such food is doing to us mentally.” Nicky explains.

“Circumstances in this country now dictate the absolute need to know how to eat healthily for as little cost as possible.

The meals we cook with our young people tend to be one pot meals which can be refrigerated or frozen for later, then heated up in the microwave. This not only helps keep the cost of electricity or gas down, it also helps those who may be experiencing a low mood on some days, as they have a nutritious and delicious ready-made meal which takes minutes to prepare.”

Nicky continues: “We use lots of pulses as they are cheap, very quick and easy to cook, extremely healthy and versatile; they take on the taste of whichever spices you cook them in.

Our meals are characterised not only by the addition of healthy ingredients, but by the absence of chemicals and additives, which may play havoc with our gut microbiome and therefore our entire mental and physical health. The recent rise in prices has meant that we don’t always come in at the £5 mark, but we still work to be as close to that as we can. (Cooking the one pot dishes will mean the young person has more than five meals, but we offset this against the price of adding side dishes).”

One young person supported by our Anchorage service in Great Yarmouth said: “I enjoy cooking with Nicky because she explains and helps me to understand what certain foods will help me and what helps my body. She’s very interactive and we always make extremely nice food that I like to make on my own.”

Nicky adds: “I have costed the meals at supermarket prices, however I often buy spices and pulses at other stores if I find them cheaper there. There is a ‘Cheering Chana’ recipe available for you to download below if you would like to try a recipe for yourself – and we hope you enjoy making and eating it as much as we do!”

Just £5 could cover the cost of a meal for a young person supported by our Housing and Homelessness services. If you would like to make a donation, you can make a one-off or a regular donation quickly and securely via our website here – and if you’re going to try out the ‘Cheering Chana’ recipe, let us know in the ‘donation message’ box!

Thank you for your support and happy cooking!

Thank you for your support!


Download Nicky's 'Cheering Chana' recipe here Make a donation
Quote Marks Left I consider myself very lucky to work for The Benjamin Foundation- I have been encouraged and supported to take on more challenges and can honestly say I am never bored!

Member of our staff team

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