It is so easy to think of diet as an all-or-none. You either eat healthy or you don’t. You’re on a diet or off the wagon. The problem is that reality is not so black and white.
Try thinking about food with an 80/20 split. 80% of the time eat for fuel. Choose foods based on the nutrition and calories that your body requires. The other 20% of the time eat for enjoyment. When you are eating for pleasure, truly be present in moment and enjoy the food without judgment.
This idea is flexible. You can apply it to any given meal, a single day, or a week. It emphasizes healthy choices but allows for the non-utilitarian aspects of food as well. If you find that your 20% has a tendency to expand, try adding more structure to your way of eating until you can naturally calculate the split.
Food is the basis of health but it is also a source of social bonding and pleasure. It does not have to be all-or-none, as long as you keep it in balance.