THE BLOG

Skip Arugula and Eat Well on a Budget

02/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

1. Meatless Mondays. Skip meat once a week for your health and the environment. For those of you who worry about missing your favorite meat flavor, don't worry because there are plenty of tasty substitutes, such as Tofurkey!

2. Incorporate more fruit and vegetables into your diet. This can be as simple as adding sliced fruit to your cereal, mixing some veggies into your eggs and adding some tasty veggies to your pasta sauce. There's lots of fantastic, easy recipes.

3. Skip calorie drinks and go for the true zero calorie, free beverage -- tap water! If you're concerned about your water quality, invest in a water filter. And, you won't forget to drink if you invest in a sturdy, reusable water bottle.

4. Plant an herb garden. Whether you live in an apartment (like me) or a McMansion, you can easily grow some scrumptious herbs in a window. Pluck some sprigs to add some zest to your meals.

5. Eat dinner with others. Turn off the TV and your phone and sit down to one meal a week with friends and family. You'll be a lot more relaxed and will experience what a meal truly should be -- not a time to inhale calories on the run but an opportunity to savor a delicious meal with others.

6. Walk! I live in Los Angeles, so who am I to advocate for walking? However, there are ways you can add a few extra steps into your day. Walk at lunch with co-workers or listen to your iPod. Take the stairs, park further away from your office or walk to the next bus stop. Adding just a bit more exercise to your routine will help you burn calories.

7. Need a dessert? Don't be so strict that you never allow yourself a treat occasionally. And, if you do eat a dessert in January, get a small scoop of Yes, Pecan! by Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. Sales of this flavor will support Common Cause, a national organization devoted to government accountability and election reform.

8. Use a smaller plate or bowl. Studies show that people tend to eat the portion size they're given. So, rather than using a huge plate, opt for a small one. It will force you to eat less and get up more frequently for second helpings.

9. Eating out? Skip high calorie foods such as those that are fried, have lots of sugar or are laden with fat. Instead, enjoy healthier fare such as non-cream soups, salads (but beware of salad dressing) and dishes with lots of vegetables.

10. Keep a food diary. Studies show that writing what you eat helps people lose weight.

11. Become an advocate! Add your voice to organizations fighting for clean tap water, non-Genetically Modified foods, safe food systems and better access to fresh, affordable produce for all. Some of my favorites (we're working with them on our film, Food, Inc.) include Center for Food Safety, Center for Science in the Public Interest and Organic Consumers Association.

This post of Sarah's Social Action Snapshot originally appeared on Takepart.com