Remember the good ol’ days of childhood when we were giant brats and refused to eat anything that wasn’t on the kids menu? Vegetables were a big no no, meats were refused unless in nugget form, and peanut butter and jelly went together better than the adults’ wine and cheese. There were those phases were we would only eat things based on a particular color. For example, red day meant spaghetti with marinara sauce and orange meant mac n’ cheese. The simpler the food, the easier it was to eat.

Well, at some point along the way we lost the desire to live off peanut butter jelly sandwiches, got tired of making cheese sauce out of powder, and steered clear of processed, unrecognizable meats. Some think this happened post-college when jobs equaled money, and money equaled having to expand horizon until a refined palate was developed. This time around, simple meant organic, local ingredients, with freshness being of great concern. Cost meant nothing if it meant the earth and health were put first – until that pink slip of unemployment doom was handed out.

Call it nostalgia or call it being broke, but the combination of having very little money and a lot of time to think about the past, present, and future oftentimes results in the unemployed binge eating foods they probably shouldn’t be eating but are too filling and cheap to resist. Those days of eating organic and preservative free get thrown out the window along with fresh foods. If the vegetables and fruits aren’t jarred, frozen, or pureed into sauce, they’re non-existent in the unemployed’s diet.

Shopping in bulk at Costco in an effort to save money by spending way too much upfront is also one of the contributors to a poor unemployment diet and subsequent weight gain. How can one resist/avoid making pb&j sandwiches all day every day when they have eight loaves of bread and gallons of peanut butter and jelly to finish? Chicken nuggets are so cheap and delicious with all that stolen ketchup, and provide plenty of protein and beak pieces. And boy do kids (and parents) have it easy these days when they can enjoy easy Mac by just adding water and popping it in the microwave. It’s an unemployed person’s dream to be able to fix a meal without perishable goods like milk and butter. Overcooked pasta and somewhat spoiled ketchup is a great way to emulate the taste of another childhood favorite – canned Spagetti-O’s which are just way too expensive to buy without a job.

Basically, the unemployed will go through a phase where they will eat all things carbohydrate-y and fatty until their stomachs scream, “No more!” At that point, it’s time to finish up the giant can of beans and huge jar of nacho cheese, and call it a day for cheap classics that will inevitably lead to an early death. Then, it’s time to use those food stampsto class it up at Whole Foods.

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