Monday, June 2, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Leah Borski, Mommy Fitness & Family Nutrition

Leah Borski, Author, Family Nutrition
Leah Borski specializes in Mommy Fitness and Family Nutrition and has produced a unique cookbook to enable busy parents serve their kids healthy meals—reviewed  as “Great versatile recipes!”  THE FAMILY TABLE COOKBOOK: WHOLE GRAIN PANCAKE AND BAKING MIX offers a base recipe for a mix accompanied by recipes using that mix for a variety of healthy pancakes/waffles, toppings, dips, breads, muffins, desserts, simple dinners, and purees.

In the following interview, Borski provides five top tips to busy parents who want to assure their children eat healthy foods--including, patience, persistence, simplicity, and creativity.  She defines success as “having my kids willing to try new foods and opting for healthy choices most of the time.”

When she’s not cooking, trying new recipes, or writing cookbooks, Borski stays busy, especially with her family. She likes yoga, enjoys nature, reading, painting, crafts – and so much more. And she even occasionally relaxes with a cup of hot chai tea while reading a book. 

Check out the giveaway opportunity following the interview.

Q: What drove you to write THE FAMILY TABLE COOKBOOK?

Leah Borski: The struggle I had with transitioning my first child from baby food purees to self-feeding. I was determined to do it in a way that would keep his love for the healthy foods I had been making and feeding him as a baby, and I had a really hard time finding recipes that included them. So I set out to make my own. It didn’t really occur to me to write a cookbook until my mother-in-law saw the recipes I was making and the healthy foods I was still able to get my son to eat as a toddler, and she suggested that I should write a book to share my recipes with others.

Q: Where/how did you conceive of your recipes?

Leah Borski: When I first started out, I would just look for recipes online or take some of my favorite meals I’d been making forever (I’ve been cooking since I was a kid myself), and then experiment with alterations or substitutions to make them healthier, like using applesauce, fruit & veggie purees, and honey to cut unhealthy fat and refined sugars.

After months of experimenting, adjusting, and learning about the science involved with baking, I reached the point where I was able to develop the multifunctional whole grain baking mix I use in all of the recipes in my cookbook. That opened the door for me to branch out with different flavor combinations and then the ideas for new recipes just sort of snowballed from there. 

Q: Does your family serve as testers, i.e., do they benefit from you practicing your recipes?

Leah Borski: Yes, my husband and son have been testing my recipes since I started, and now I also have a daughter who has been testing since she was old enough to eat purees!

They definitely benefit when the recipes are good, and they have certainly endured trying out some that were not so good the first go-around! There was a long period of trial and error involved! Now that the recipes have been perfected, I use my cookbook on such a regular basis it is not really testing anymore, just part of our everyday meals.

Q: What are the five top tips you’d offer to any busy parent trying to assure the family eat healthily?

Leah Borski:
  1. Be patient and persistent. Kids’ taste buds are constantly changing and developing. They won’t always like everything we put in front of them. It’s important to be understanding of that and try to keep our frustrations over it to ourselves. Because their taste buds are constantly changing, it can take several tries before a child will accept certain foods. If they don’t want it the first few times, do not give up! I know how aggravating it can feel to go through that repeated rejection of foods, BUT when we continue to try, our children continue to have the opportunity to experience enjoyment of foods they might have never reached that point with had we given up and stopped offering it.  Also, when persisting, it is important to not be too emotionally tied to the outcome. When our children sense that, there tends to be a battle of wills over the whole thing. That is not what we want! Be sure to leave at least a few days between each new attempt and remember to stay calm!
  2. Keep it simple! The #1 way I save time with healthy cooking is by investing a little time into prep work. Batch cook staple foods like brown rice or whole wheat pasta, and wash/cut what veggies or fruits you can ahead of time to make actual meal-cooking time quick and easy, especially for weeknight dinners which can be hectic!  Make 5 days’ worth of lunches or snacks at a time. Use my cookbook to make batches of whole grain pancakes or muffins that can be frozen and used later for quick healthy breakfasts or snacks.
  3. Be creative. The more variety we can provide when we want our children to try a certain food, the more likely they are to try it. Try different cooking and presentation styles. For example, broccoli can be served steamed, raw, shredded with carrots and mixed into a ‘slaw’, covered in cheese, added into soup, used to make a fun design on their plate, stir-fried with other veggies, chopped and mixed with cream cheese or ricotta as a dip or spread for whole wheat crackers, etc. If your child keeps saying ‘no’ to steamed broccoli, try it another way and see what happens.  Make it fun if you can!
  4. Be a good example. Our children are going to do what we DO, not what we SAY! Deep down we all know this, but it can be hard to accept when what WE crave is not what we know will be best for our children to develop good eating habits. I had to learn this the hard way, and it is still challenging at times! But it is worth the effort for the sake of our families’ health AND our sanity! It is so much easier to make one meal everyone in the family can eat than to have to make separate things for everyone.
  5. Be OK with the fact that everyone isn’t going to like ‘everything’ and just do your best! It’s OK if your child still refuses broccoli after 10 tries, as long as he/she is still offered other veggies! I think the biggest mistake we can make is to think that if our child doesn’t like one certain healthy food, they just won’t like ANY healthy foods and give up completely. Be open to accepting that you can keep trying with other foods and it’s not the end of the world if your child doesn’t like ‘everything.’
Q: What qualifies you to write about nutrition and food allergies? 

Leah Borski: I am not a credentialed/certified nutritionist.  However, I do have 7 years’ professional experience working as a medical transcriptionist, a field in which it was critical that I be thoroughly adept at finding and understanding reliable medical information in a variety of specialties, in order to ensure I was not risking patients’ lives or welfare by including inaccurate information in their medical reports. 

I understand that I have a responsibility to my readers to be just as thorough and careful with the information I present in my cookbook and website, and to point out instances where they should seek the expert opinion of a medical professional based on their specific needs. I may not know them personally, but I DO care about their families’ wellbeing – it’s the reason I decided to share my recipes and experience with family nutrition in the first place!

I also have the experience of having fed my own 2 babies, starting 8 years ago, and finding ways to successfully keep them on-board with enjoying healthier foods throughout this span of time.  When I was first starting out feeding my son solid foods, I realized there is so much confusing and contradictory information out there. A lot of it is based on opinion, ignorance, or propaganda. I felt like I had an advantage, being educated in medical language and knowing how to locate and comprehend accurate information, that most parents don’t, and as time progressed I began to realize that what I knew could help so many people feel less overwhelmed and confused when it comes to family nutrition.

Q: What kind of research do you do to help corroborate your recipes?

Leah Borski: I utilize several resources, including medical journal reports from the NCBI database and medical association publications, to corroborate age-appropriate introductions of foods for babies/toddlers as well as nutritional guidelines and information.

I also utilize several cooking resources, including Cook’s Illustrated,, and Better Homes and Gardens, to improve my knowledge of cooking techniques and learn the science of baking.

Q: How successful have you been applying your cook book recipes to your family? How would you define “success?”

Leah Borski: My definition of success, in regard to my family eating healthfully, is having my kids willing to try new foods and opting for healthy choices most of the time, and also having a simple way to set the example with foods we all like.

I believe that incorporating my cookbook recipes into our eating routine has definitely helped me to be successful.  We enjoy these recipes together on a regular basis and have developed a preference for whole-grains, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats over highly-processed, sugary, fatty, and nutritionally-void foods. Cooking together also opens the door to conversations about how the foods we eat help our bodies to be healthy, and that adds an extra layer of motivation for all of us!

Q: What did you find the most difficult to do to complete THE FAMILY TABLE COOKBOOK?

Leah Borski: Final proofing of the recipes for print. I had gone through many trial-and-error sessions with developing the recipes at first, and then after the recipes were perfected I was using them on a regular basis to cook for my family. The process became very routine to me, and so separating myself from that routine and being able to look at my recipes with ‘fresh eyes’ was definitely a challenge. I depended on the help of close friends and family who agreed to be ‘recipe proof testers’ and also my husband, and then did the final test run after that on my own. I also hired a professional proofreader to inspect the final draft as an additional pair of fresh eyes. It was a long process, but definitely well worth it!

Q: What’s next? Will you be writing a followup book?

Leah Borski: I am actually in the process of writing another book now. It is focused on batch cooking, similar to the concept in this book, using several purees and ‘base’ recipes to create a variety of simple and delicious dishes. This next book will include soups, casseroles, dips, snacks, and convenient dinners.

Q: Tell us about Leah Borski. What do you like to do when you’re not cooking or writing?

Leah Borski: I am also a health and wellness coach, so I enjoy learning about and teaching everything to do with fitness, nutrition, wellness techniques, and healthy lifestyle practices. My passion is family nutrition and health, so my main focus is helping moms with simple ways to develop healthier habits themselves and incorporate those into their family life. I coach online fitness & nutrition groups and also teach monthly kids’ healthy snacks classes in my local community.

I love to learn, and I am also studying to improve my entrepreneurial and mentoring skills, as well as constantly expand my knowledge of nutrition and healthy behaviors.

When I am not doing anything work or study related, I love to hang out with my husband and kiddos, enjoying nature, reading, playing and laughing, listening to music, painting and making crafts, exercising/doing yoga, watching performing arts, and experiencing new places like nature centers, museums, and zoos.

During my alone/free time (which is rare) I like to sit back with a comfy blanket, a cup of hot chai tea, and relax with a good book or watch travel documentaries.  Occasionally I’ll take the opportunity to soak in a candlelit bath with a good cold beer!

About Leah Borski

Leah Borski is a family nutrition specialist and health coach whose passion is helping busy families with easy healthy meal solutions. She shares simple strategies and family-friendly recipes at her internationally recognized blog and website, as well as insight into some of the challenges and triumphs she's experienced as a work-at-home mom of two and military wife who is determined to provide a healthier lifestyle for her own family.

Her debut publication, the highly acclaimed EAT TO BEAT STRESS: 10 SUPER FOODS TO PREVENT MAJOR SYMPTOMS OF STRESS showcases several of her recipes as tantalizing tools for busting life's most prevalent stressors, offering a preview of her streamlined methods for creating single meals that satisfy the whole family.

She currently teaches "Kids in the Kitchen" healthy cooking classes in her local community, promoting nutrition education in a fun environment for parents and kids, and aspires to collaborate with local and national organizations to promote family nutrition and wellness in conjunction with authoring and publishing THE FAMILY TABLE COOKBOOK series of recipe/meal planning books.

THE FAMILY TABLE COOKBOOK: WHOLE GRAIN PANCAKE AND BAKING MIX combines the superior nutrition of whole grains, fruits, and veggies with the convenience of a simple mix to create fluffy pancakes, moist and flavorful muffins, aromatic quick breads, and delectable sweet treats.

This convenient mix is made with easy-to-find ingredients and provides a simple solution for time-crunched families who need an inexpensive alternative to packaged whole grain mixes and a smart method for providing homemade. Loaded with the powerful benefits of hearty whole grains, every recipe reduces harmful fats and eliminates processed sugar by incorporating smaller amounts of natural sweeteners which are lower on the glycemic index.

Weary parents longing for a fuss-free way to get their families to eat healthier, especially those with babies new to solid foods or children who are at varied developmental stages, will find relief with the section of multipurpose Power Purees. Providing natural sweetness and a nutritional boost for many of the recipes in this book, these purees can also be served as individual or combo baby foods and as healthy additions to snacks for kids and adults of all ages. Simple, concise instructions take the guesswork out of providing healthy family meals and snacks.


My distributor page, with links to all online retailers who sell the e-book version
Amazon print version
Direct order print version from Createspace
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble Nook              Kobo             Copia
Twitter: @leahborski_tftc
Amazon Author page 

First prize: $30 Amazon gift card and The Family Table Cookbook: Whole Grain Pancake & Baking Mix
Second prize: $20 Amazon gift card and The Family Table Cookbook: Whole Grain Pancake & Baking Mix


  1. Hello Joyce,
    On behalf of Leah and Book Marketing Services, I would like to thank you for hosting and interviewing Leah today on Strand’s Simply Tips. She is honored to be here. If anyone has any questions and/or comments they would like to share with Leah, please leave them in the comment box. Leah will be by later in the day to respond to everyone.
    Please remember to enter her giveaway:
    Leah’s next stop on her tour is on Wednesday, June 4th, 2014. The Family Table Cookbook will be reviewed by Laurie on Laurie Here – Contemporary Fiction and MORE
    Happy cooking,

  2. Hi Joyce! Thank you again so much for hosting! I am thrilled to be here and grateful for the opportunity.