Briarcliff Health Coach's Back-to-School Breakfast Tips

Karen Rigney, a certified Holistic Health Coach, talks about healthy breakfast ideas.

With , it’s time for parents to start brainstorming about healthy breakfast ideas that won’t break the bank.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says “breakfast is the most important meal of the day and will allow kids to maintain better focus throughout the day.” 

Karen Rigney, a certified holistic health coach and founder of Rigney Nutrition & Health believes “children need the nutrients of breakfast in the morning because there’s so much learning going on during their day.”

Through her holistic practice in Briarcliff Manor, Rigney helps people find a healthy balance with food that will nourish their individual needs.

Rigney follows and recommends 10 tips for parents who want to start the school year off in a healthy note:

  1. Get into the food mindset by reading the ingredients on everything you buy at the grocery store. Stay away from chemicals, food fragments, or any ingredients that you cannot find in your kitchen.
  2. Try to eliminate as much processed foods as you can.
  3. If you’re trying to introduce new foods to your child, take baby steps and gradually establish the new food into the diet. Such as introducing new vegetables by putting them into a pasta sauce.
  4. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables—they protect us from being sick.
  5. Eat in-season and local products.
  6. Buy organic peanut butter, the peanuts will not be covered in pesticide and hydrogenated oils or trans fats are not included.
  7. Reuse dinners for breakfast and lunch.
  8. Lower dairy intake and try different grains if you’re sensitive to it.
  9. Keep refined sugars out of the diet.
  10. Lastly, never skip breakfast because it sets the cravings for the day.


If you’re on the go and don’t have time for a full-blown meal, that doesn’t mean you should go to the quick and easy sugary cereals or granola bars.

“Cold cereals have a lot of sugar and are ultra-processed,” said Rigney. “It alters the nutritional value when it is more dangerous than it is helpful.”

Instead, Rigney recommends adding 2-3 whole foods together with ingredients that can be found in your kitchen. 

Simple breakfast ideas

- Whole grain waffles or pancakes with 100 percent maple syrup.
- Whole grain toast with nut-butter, fruit or honey to make it sweet.
- Oatmeal with granola, unsweetened coconut flakes or cinnamon and 100 percent maple syrup.
- Smoothies with fresh in-season fruit. Add a few greens in disguise to get more nutrients.
- Make an omelette for the week with sautéed spinach and cheese. Cut it into small pieces and kids will eat it throughout the day. 
- Mix oatmeal or rice with a healthy yogurt, organic nuts or nut butter, and a natural sweetener like maple syrup.

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