Dining Out? Navigating A Temptation-Filled Menu


Your health influences your work, and to be successful you need to be healthy. After all, you are the face, image and brand of your company. You need energy, vibrancy and clarity to run your business and life. There are also major social aspects to being an entrepreneur: networking, mastermind lunches and client interactions to name a few.

"Eating out doesn’t have to be stressful or about indulgence" - Caryn O’Sullivan

Many people believe that implementing healthier habits leaves dining out and socializing in the past; or when you do eat out, that a plain salad with lemon juice is the only option. This is simply not true, and as said, your business depends on you getting out and being noticed. Eating out is so much a part of our culture, it is hard to avoid – and who would want to anyway? It is fun and effortless – no mess, no clean up, no planning or preparation required. However, with the ease of dining comes unknown ingredients, and for someone managing a food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity eating out can be dangerous at worst, and stressful for most. Even without these precautions, eating out is full of temptations that can steer us far from healthy: the bread basket, cocktails, desserts, fried foods and lots of butter. While those items are alluring and excite the taste buds, they are not waistline or heart friendly.

"Eating out is full of temptations that can steer us far from healthy: the bread basket, cocktails, desserts, fried foods and lots of butter. While those items are alluring and excite the taste buds, they are not waistline or heart friendly." - Caryn O’Sullivan

However, with a little bit of thought and preparation, you can have the best of both worlds: enjoying a social time out and making choices that are high quality and health conscious.

Here are some tips to stay on track, avoid temptations and still have a satisfying and fun experience.

1. Choose a place that has healthy options and not too many temptations. By doing preliminary research online (looking at the menus and reviews of a restaurant) it is easy to find an option that works with your plan. Farm to table, seasonal, and ethnic restaurants like Mediterranean offer plenty of vegetable-based dishes, salads, soups and healthier preparations. Many of these lighter options are found in the appetizer or side sections of the menu, so look beyond the entrees. There is no rule against ordering two appetizers or several sides to compose your meal.

2. Next, ask yourself what you want to eat before you get to the restaurant. Food descriptions on the menu can be tantalizing (on purpose), so deciding before you go will help you avoid the temptations. You can simply look online or call ahead. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions. For instance, if there is a meal that fits your diet like roasted chicken, but is served with French fries don’t be afraid to ask for a substitution like salad or steamed vegetables. If you have food sensitivities or allergies, it is best to call the restaurant in advance to inform them. Reiterate this information when you get there so the server and kitchen are aware of your requirements.

3. Once you have decided on the main meal, develop a strategy to avoid the temptations.c First, refuse the bread basket. Saying “no” to the basket before it is set on the table is much easier than staring at it and trying to resist taking a piece. Next, be aware of fancy cocktails, wine and sodas which come with a lot of sugar and extra calories. Your best option when eating out is to choose plain or sparkling water, especially if you are trying to lose weight. If you do choose alcohol, then make sure you are drinking water in between each glass to stay hydrated and on your game.

4. Dessert is another obstacle, often too tempting to resist. Avoid dessert completely by refusing to look at the menu. Once we see the options, the pleasure centers in our brains light up and it becomes much more difficult to refuse.

If you cannot pass it by or your peers want dessert, then choose sorbet, a light fruit dish or close the meal with an herbal tea like peppermint or chamomile. Herbal teas help you slow down and aid digestion as well.

"With a little bit of thought and preparation, you can have the best of both worlds: enjoying a social time out and making choices that are high quality and health conscious" - Caryn O’Sullivan

Eating out doesn’t have to be stressful or about indulgence. Nowadays there are so many different styles of eating; gluten free, dairy free, paleo, etc., that restaurants (and other people) are fairly accepting of changes or requests. Food is nourishment, and food cooked for you can be even more nourishing even if it is not the healthiest because it is a break from the cooking and clean up routine. For entrepreneurs who work from home, the cooking and cleaning cuts into productivity and as a result, mealtimes are not prioritized. Snacking and munching throughout the day then takes place.

To feel your best, avoid the processed foods, salty snacks, fried food and sweets. Focus on whole grains, vegetables, fruit and high quality proteins to get you through the day.

When you are out or at home, make choices that will energize you and stabilize your blood sugar. You don’t want to be fighting fatigue or ups and downs while trying to focus or work with clients. To feel your best, avoid the processed foods, salty snacks, fried food and sweets. Focus on whole grains, vegetables, fruit and high quality proteins to get you through the day. If you do steer off course (i.e. only sandwiches and cookies at a meeting), it is okay. Move on from there, with a restart plan ready for the next day to get back on track.

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Choosing the Right Corporate Structure: Which Business Entity Should You Go With?

Business entities can be defined as the corporate, tax and legal structures which an organization chooses to officially follow at the time of its official registration with the state authorities. In total, there are fifteen different types of business entities, which would be the following.

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Partnership or LP
  • Limited Liability Partnership or LLP
  • Limited Liability Limited Partnership or LLLP
  • Limited Liability Company or LLC
  • Professional LLC
  • Professional Corporation
  • B-Corporation
  • C-Corporation
  • S-Corporation
  • Nonprofit Organization
  • Estate
  • Cooperative Organization
  • Municipality

As estates, municipalities and nonprofits do not concern the main topic here, the following discussions will exclude the three.

Importance of the State: The Same Corporate Structure Will Vary from State to State

All organizations must register themselves as entities at the state level in United States, so the rules and regulations governing them differ quite a bit, based on the state in question.

What this means is that a Texas LLC for example will not operate under the same rules and regulations as an LLC registered in New York. Also, an LLC in Texas can have the same name as another company that is registered in a different state, but it's not advisable given how difficult it could become in the future while filing for patents.

To know more about such quirks and step-by-step instructions on how to start an LLC in Texas, visit howtostartanllc.com, and you could get started with the online process immediately. The information and services on the website are not just limited to Texas LLC organizations either, but they have a dedicated page for guiding fresh entrepreneurs through the corporate tax structures in every state.

Sole Proprietorship: Default for Freelancers and Consultants

There is only one owner or head in a sole proprietorship, and that's what makes it ideal for one-man businesses that deal with freelance work and consulting services. Single man sole proprietorships are automatic in nature, therefore, registration with the state is unnecessary.

Sole proprietorships are also suited to a degree for singular teams such as a small construction crew, a group of handymen, or even miniature establishments in retail. Also, this puts the owner's personal financial status at jeopardy.

Due to the fact that a sole proprietorship entity puts all responsibilities for paying taxes and returning loans, it directly jeopardizes the sole proprietor's personal belongings in case of a lawsuit, or even after a failed loan repayment.

This is the main reason why even the most miniature establishments find LLCs to be a better option, but this is not the only reason either. Sole proprietors also find it hard to start their business credit or even get significant business loans.

General Partnership: Equal Responsibilities

The only significant difference between a General Partnership and a Sole Proprietorship is the fact that two or more owners share responsibilities and liabilities equally in a General Partnership, as opposed to there being only one responsible and liable party in the latter. Other than that, they more or less share the same pros and cons.

Registration with the state is not necessary in most cases, and although it still puts the finances of the business owners at risk here, the partnership divides the liability, making it a slightly better option than sole proprietorship for small teams of skilled workers or even small restaurants and such.

Limited Partnership: Active and Investing Partners

A Limited Partnership (LP) has to be registered with a state and whether it has just two or more partners, there are two different types of partners in all LP establishments.

The active partner or the general partner is the one who is responsible and liable for operating the business in its entirety. The silent or investing partner, on the other hand, is the one who invests funds or other resources into the organization. The latter has very limited liability or control over the company's operations.

It's a perfect way for investors to put their money into a sector that they are personally not experienced with, but have access to people who do. From the perspective of the general partners, they have similar responsibilities and liabilities to those in a general partnership.

It's the default strategy for startups to find funding and as long as the idea is sound, it has made way for multiple successful entrepreneurial ventures in the recent past. However, personal liability still looms as a dangerous prospect for the active partners to consider.

Limited Liability Company and Professional LLC

Small businesses have no better entity structure to follow than the LLC, given that it takes multiple good ideas from various corporate structures, virtually eliminating most cons that are inherent to them. Any and all small businesses that are in a position to or are in requirement of signing up with their respective state, usually choose an LLC entity because of the following reasons:

  • It removes the dangerous aspect of personal liability if the business falls in debt or is sued for reparations
  • The state offers the choice of choosing between corporation and partnership tax slabs
  • The limited legalities and paperwork make it suited for small businesses

While more expensive than a general partnership or a sole proprietorship, a professional LLC is going to be a much safer choice for freelancers and consultants, especially if it involves risk of any kind. This makes it ideal for even single man businesses such a physician's practice or the consultancy services of an accountant.

B, C and S-Corporation

By definition, all corporation entities share most of the same attributes and as the term suggests, they're more suited for larger or at least medium sized businesses in any sector. The differences between the three are vast once you delve into the tax structures which govern each entity.

However, the basic differences can be observed by simply taking a look at each of their definitive descriptions, as stated below.

C-Corporation – This is the default corporate entity for large or medium-large businesses, complete with a board of directors, a CEO/CEOs, other executive officers and shareholders.

The shareholders or owners are not liable for debts or legal dispute settlements in a C-Corporation, and they may qualify for lower tax slabs than is possible in any other corporate structure. On becoming big enough, they also have the option to become a publicly traded company, which is ideal for generating growth investments.

B- Corporation – the same rules apply as a C-Corporation, but due to their registered and certified commitment to social and environmental standards maintenance, B-Corporations will have a more lenient tax structure to deal with.

S-Corporation – Almost identical to a C-Corporation, the difference is in scale, as S-Corporations are only meant for small businesses, general partnerships and even sole proprietors. The main difference here is that due to the creation of a pass-through entity, aka a S-Corporation, the owner/owners do not have liability for business debt and legal disputes. They also are not taxed on the corporate slab.

Cooperative: Limited Application

A cooperation structure in most cases is a voluntary partnership of limited responsibilities that binds people in mutual interest - it is an inefficient structure due to the voluntary nature of its legal bindings, which often makes it unsuitable for traditional business operations. Nevertheless, the limited liability clause exempts all members of a cooperative from having personal liability for paying debts and settling claims.

This should clear up most of the confusion surrounding the core concepts and their suitability. In case you are wondering why the Professional Corporation structure wasn't mentioned, then that's because it has very limited applications. Meant for self-employed, skilled professionals or small organizations founded by them, they have less appeal now in comparison to an LLC or an S-Corporation.