Does the prospect of always eating piles of bland meat, vegetables, grains, and the like get you down?

Well, with some simple seasoning tips, you can take your chow from “weak” to “wow.” The three best tools are:

1. Salt

This is the superstar of zero-calorie food enhancers—just a dash enhances the flavor of meat and fish and elevates any other seasonings it’s paired with.

To salt effectively, think “small and slow.” When you’re salting finished food, sprinkle a little evenly throughout and taste before adding more; and when you’re cooking, keep a bowl of salt on the counter and add some at every stage of the process, tasting regularly.

If you’re making a soup, for example, add a little salt every time you add something new to the pot that isn’t already salty, and sample the broth often.

You should also experiment with different types of salts. Kosher salt, sea salt, and table salt all have slightly different flavor profiles and can be applied in a number of different ways, including brining, rubbing, and seasoning.

2. Acids

In cooking, acidic foods have a sour, tangy, bright, or sharp taste, and they can be used to enhance the flavor of savory or sweet foods.

A beef stew, for instance, may benefit from a splash of red wine vinegar, while a bit of lemon juice added to a fruit salad will make its sweetness pop.

Marinades also benefit greatly from acids. Instead of slapping some seasonings onto a tough cut of meat, turn them into a marinade by incorporating an acid like vinegar, tomato juice, or citrus juice, which will help the meat absorb the flavoring more deeply.

3. Spices and seasonings

There are as many spice and seasoning options available to you as there are cuisines in the world, and different pairings take dishes in different directions.

For example, with various spice combinations, you can turn a stir-fry into an Asian, jerk, or even Italian variation.

There are many flavor profiles to experiment with, and my favorite categories include:

  • “Warm” flavors: cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, curry, and turmeric
  • “Hot” flavors: black pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, sriracha, and Tabasco
  • “Green” flavors: basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, tarragon, mint, and thyme
  • “Pungent” flavors: garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, scallion, mustard, and horseradish
  • “Zesty” flavors: ginger, orange zest, and lemon zest
  • “Smoky” flavors: chipotle, chili powder, smoked salt, and diced bacon
  • “Nutty” flavors: walnuts, sesame, soy, pecans, and pistachios
  • “Sweet” flavors: sugar, molasses, maple syrup, and honey

Watch out for “dead” herbs and spices, too, by checking your use-by dates regularly and replacing those that have expired. You can also know if a spice or herb is still good by giving it a quick smell. No scent equals no flavor.


If you want to learn more about the art and science of eating foods you like and doing workouts you love to get the body you want, check out my new book Muscle for Life.

It’s a science-based, doctor-approved formula for eating, exercising, and recovering that makes losing fat and adding lean muscle doable for anyone at any age.

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Go for it!

P.S. Muscle for Life doesn’t contain dietary “hacks,” quick fixes, or other unsustainable regimens that produce fast but fleeting results, and I won’t ask you to give up all the foods you like.

Instead, I provide you with nutritional guidelines and meal plans with enough structure to get results and enough flexibility to accommodate your eating preferences, schedule, and lifestyle.

This way, you can look forward to every meal, every day, and, quite frankly, never feel like you’re “on a diet” ever again.

Muscle for Life also doesn’t try to force you into a one-size-fits-all training program that may or may not meet your needs or liking.

Instead, I explain why your primary fitness goal should be getting strong, and I give you six workout programs to choose from—one for male and female beginners, intermediates, and advanced trainees.

This way, you can enjoy your training and never feel like you’re working too hard or not hard enough.