Focus on what you do MOST of the time, not SOME of the time.
For many setting out on their nutrition change journey, there is the idea that whatever they have to do needs to be perfect, or else it's not going to work. However, 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater' after 'stuffing up', is what is getting in the way of success for many.
You see, for every stuff up, there is information that can be used in order to do better next time. It's not about what you do once. It's about what you do most of the time that gets you to the end goal. To put it another way, one salad isn't going to make you healthy or reduce your risk of heart disease, and one burger isn't going to give you a heart attack.
Rather than focusing on figuring out which one food is going to make you healthy (or unhealthy), lose weight or go faster, look at the habits that you do every day and start with changing those. In fact, the most significant change you will make in your nutrition journey is not the actual foods. It is your habits and attitude that will probably need the most work! What gives us health is regular exposure to a variety of foods, but what is also healthy is sharing food for love and connection- getting rid of that because you are 'on a diet' is only going to lead to misery!
Here's the thing, if most of the time you are choosing foods that are largely in their whole form, not ultra-processed, and aim to eat a variety of different foods, chances are you are regularly exposing your body to the small doses of micronutrients required for good health. And you can afford to have a few delicious morsels in the mix without too much fuss.
Feeling uncertain about food choices or 'messing up' your diet is a natural part of the process. A major step in being able to feel comfortable and confident in eating out at social occasions. This takes time, practice, and support to be able to achieve, but is so worth the effort.
At some in the early stages, it is good to take a step back and think about how you want your life to look. Does it sit well with you that to 'get results' you need to skip social events if you don't know what foods are going to be there? Or, do you want to be able to enjoy a few meals out each week without too much stress? Long term, we need to acknowledge that delicious food exists and therefore, we need to practice having them as a part of the usual diet, without spinning out or having it feel like a failure, and instead of having them be a part of the plan.
Nutrition change without factoring in the delicious foods that you love but are not necessarily 'health' foods is kind of like planning a project but not budgeting for something like overheads, which are 100% necessary, but you might forget are part of the project. To successfully complete the nutrition project, we need to factor everything in, including the social occasions and special events and build the pattern around that.
As a rule of thumb, if 80% of the time you can hand on heart say you are 'doing the right thing' eating a healthy diet, I would not be worried about the other 20%. However, if those percentages are geared the other way, it's time to quit looking for the easy single food change and look at the bigger picture.