Food52 in 5

5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Day in 5 Minutes or Less

March  9, 2018

What can you do with just five minutes? Actually, way more than you think! Introducing Food52 in 5: your cheat sheet for speedy, delicious recipes, fun mini projects, and more.

I am not good at breakfast. In fact, if I'm being real with you, my breakfast today was 1.5 cookies and a gigantic cup of coffee. It had no antioxidants, little to no protein, minimal fiber, and way too much sugar to be an advisable start to the day. (To be fair, though, they were oatmeal cookies, so there was a little bit of health involved.)

Who wouldn't want to start their morning with that beautiful milky swirl? Photo by Julia Gartland

While I'm all for eating dessert-like things for breakfast, especially on cold, gray days when it's really, really hard to get out from under my "luxe" comforter, I want to be one of those people who starts their day with an energizing breakfast. I want to be one of those people who happily blends greens into their smoothies. I want to be one of those people who preps my oatmeal the night before. I want to be one of those people who thinks ahead, plays it smart, and starts their day on a good note, instead of a rushed one.

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Good news: I totally can! (And so can you. Let's do it together.) Because all it takes to become that savvy, breakfast-eating, planning-ahead person is five minutes. That sounds doable! (Now if only I could figure out how people motivate themselves to do 6 a.m. yoga.)

1. Set up overnight oats to soak.

Overnight oats are truly a godsend for lazy people who like sleep but also like breakfast. All you have to do is mix up your oats, liquid, and toppings the day before, preferably in a cute, portable glass jar, and set it in the fridge overnight. Wake up and you've already got breakfast; one that works on the go and can even be made in bulk. My personal favorite combination is oats with almond butter, almond milk, chopped dried apricots, and a splash of almond extract. Get inspired, let oats become your artistic canvas!

2. Make cold brew for the week.

Yes, it's winter, but come on—cold brew is evergreen. It's always appropriate. Plus, you can make it ahead of time and have it ready the second you roll out of bed—no waiting for the kettle to boil. Doctor up your cold brew with some milk or sweetener, stick it in a thermos for later, and you've got a caffeinated beverage you can sip when the 3 o'clock slump hits. Pro tip: make sure to freeze some so you have coffee ice cubes (no dilution!).

3. Mise en place your routine.

Prepping for your morning the night before may seem a little over-the-top, but trust me: groggy, pre-caffeinated you will be extremely grateful. From laying out your outfit (5th grade flashback!) to pre-packing your work bag with your laptop, notes, and snacks, little steps can make your morning routine so much easier. Never again will you have to turn around halfway to the office because you forgot your keys! (Just me?)

4. Build & freeze smoothie kits.

Prepping fruits and vegetables for a future smoothie may seem like some pretty advanced planning, but that's the beauty of it: smoothie kits will last FOREVER in your freezer. (Not literally forever, but they will last a long time.) When you're ready to whir up a smoothie all you have to do is dump your kit in the blender, add a few spoonfuls of nut butter, a splash of liquid, maybe some spices or sweetener, and flip the switch. Congrats—you just became a smoothie person.

5. Pack your lunch in 5 minutes (or less).

Whether you pack these speedy lunches the night before or the morning of, they won't take up much of your time. We're talking less time than it would take to go through a DIY salad bar or customize a burrito—and they're way more budget-friendly. From sandwiches to mix-and-match salads to repurposed leftovers, 5 minutes is all it takes to create a satisfying lunch.

What's your favorite do-ahead trick to make mornings run smoothly? Tell us in the comments!

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A kitchen scientist and dog-lover. Someday I want to have you over for dinner.