What you can eat while on the HCG diet is a bit of a loaded question. It has strict rules about the foods you can eat, and when and how much you can consume. The HCG dietisn't always easy, but it works. In this article, we'll run down the foods you can eat, as well as the rules surrounding structuring your diet.

HCG Food List

HCG Food List

When most people ask about an HCG food list, they are referring to the foods they are allowed to eat during Phase 2 of the diet. Phase 2 is the section of the diet where your caloric intake is limited the most.

First, we'll run down the foods that are allowed during Phase 2 of the HCG diet. Note that there are also limits on the amounts of each.


Protein is an important part of the HCG diet. During Phase 2, you may consume up to 200g of protein per day. However, it needs to be in accordance with a specific meal plan, which we'll outline below. Generally speaking, you can have 100g protein at lunch and another 100g at dinner. The approved proteins in the HCG diet are:

  • Chicken
  • Scallops
  • Egg Whites
  • Buffalo
  • Extra-leanbeef
  • Crab
  • Shrimp
  • Whitefish with the skin removed (such as sea bass, catfish, sole, halibut, tilapia, trout, etc.)
  • Lobster


Fruits are another important component of the HCG diet. Similar to protein, there are strict limits on how much fruit you can eat due to their high caloric and sugar content. The HCG diet generally allows for two servings of fruit per day from one of the following choices:

  • Apple
  • Grapefruit
  • Strawberries
  • Orange
  • Lemons
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries


Of course, after fruits we have vegetables. Once again, there are limits, and most HCG diets allot for two cups of vegetables per day. You can choose from the following:

  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Beet Greens
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Chicory
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Fennel
  • Mixed Greens
  • Green Salad
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes (they’re considered a vegetable in the HCG diet plan)


There are certain other foods allowed on the HCG diet. These are generally used for flavor, cooking, and to break up the monotony of what you eat. These foods and ingredients include:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Stevia (in moderation)
  • Salt, pepper, and natural herbs and spices
  • Amino acids
  • Herbal tea
  • Black coffee
  • Mustard powder


The HCG diet is generally considered a diet free of starches and carbs. Therefore, you are to avoid them as much as possible. The only starches allowed for in the original HCG diet are one plain piece of melba toast or one plain grissini breadstick. It's recommended to eat these as rarely as possible, and not at all if you can.

What to Avoid

Generally speaking, anything not on the above list should be avoided on an HCG diet. However, there are specific ingredients that the HCG diet was largely designed to avoid, so are worth mentioning.

The HCG diet generally does not allow for any carbs, starches, or sugars (except in the very limited capacities within the above lists). You should also avoid oils, butter, or dressings.

Most of these choices were made not only for their low caloric value but so your body doesn't retain as much water weight and you can lose weight faster.

HCG Servings Limit – Meal Schedule

HCG Servings Limit – Meal Schedule

The above list might seem especially limiting, and dividing it up may seem like another task unto itself.

For many people, it is easiest to look at a food list in terms of your overall diet. Luckily, the HCG diet is very specific as to how you should divide your meals.

With the HCG diet, you are to keep in accordance with a strict meal plan during Phase 2. Although each diet plan may vary slightly according to your plan of action, the generally accepted "traditional" meal plan looks like this:

Breakfast is quite restrictive on HCG, consisting of only coffee or tea. You have the option of adding Stevia for flavor.

The HCG diet also allows for an optional snack between breakfast and lunch. It consists of a single serving of fruit.

For lunch, you'll eat 100g of an approved protein. You'll also have one cup of the approved vegetables (you may not be able to mix vegetables depending on the diet plan), and one serving of your fruit (you can divide your two servings throughout the day). You also may have an optional starch.

Dinner in HCG is the same as lunch. But do keep in mind that you can only have one optional starch per day, so it can either be at dinner or lunch.

Finally, there is another optional evening snack. The evening snack will typically be one serving of fruit (if you haven't eaten your two servings already).

See? It's not that complicated. Simply take the above foods and slot them into each meal to build your overall dietary schedule. You can mix it up as much as you want so long as you keep within the rules. You can use the various herbs and spices to add flavour to your dishes and keep things fresh.

Remember, there is nothing in the HCG diet about eating less than the prescribed amount. We know, you're probably so hungry that you'll want to eat it all! But the option is there.

Putting It All Together

Above, we've given you a list of approved foods within the HCG diet. Then, we looked at how you should properly portion out these foods and how you should fit them into an eating schedule each day.

However, remember that this food list was only for Phase 2 of the HCG diet; there is more to it overall. In the next section, we'll give you a full outline of each phase so you can understand how this HCG food list fits into the diet overall.

It is our hope that this gives you a comprehensive understanding of HCG so that you can see its full benefits and understand how you can apply it to your dietary needs.

The HCG Diet

The HCG diet prescribes what you can eat, when you can eat it, and the amount that you can eat. The diet overall is broken down into three phases. Let's look at each phase and outline the rules:

The Phases

The HCG diet stands for the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) diet. The diet combines a very specific dietary guideline with HCG injections or ingestions. HCG is a substance that helps to manage your hunger as you work through a diet that greatly restricts your caloric intake. Taken together, the diet is excellent for weight loss and works in a very short amount of time.

The diet itself is broken down into three phases, which are to be followed in order:

Phase 1

Phase 1 is also referred to as the loading phase. During this phase, you generally eat as much as you want while introducing the HCG injections or ingestions into your system (according to the schedule you have worked out). Phase 1 allows your body to familiarize itself with the HCG and build up fat stores which you will burn in Phase 2.

This phase typically lasts for two days.

Phase 2

Phase 2 makes up the bulk of the HCG diet (lasting between 27-40 days depending on the routine you choose). It is known as the "weight loss" or "ultra low-calorie" section of the diet. As such, it is the most restrictive, which is why the "food list" will typically refer to this stage.

Phase 2 consists of following the dietary guidelines that we carefully outlined above, along with taking your regular HCG doses. The HCG helps to regulate your hunger while you work your way through this difficult diet.

The "traditional" HCG diet consists of 500 calories per day, but there are also 800-calorie versions.

It goes without saying that most people consider Phase 2 to be the most difficult part of this diet. But take note that most people will tell you it gets easier after the first week when your body is no longer in withdrawal.

Although HCG is a restrictive diet

Steak and Apple Days

The HCG Phase 2 diet does allow for special exception days known as "plateau busters." A plateau occurs when you have gone five or six days without losing any weight. This can be very frustrating, especially on a diet as strict as HCG.

HCG allows you to take a special day known as a "plateau buster" in this circumstance. Steak and apple days are days where you eat only steak or apples. You are still bound by a specific schedule, and you still have to keep within the 500-calorie limit, but many find these days to be much simpler in terms of planning their diet, and also find that it works as a physical and mental "reset."

This allows them to have an ultra-focused day, with the goal of regaining perspective and getting back on track.

Phase 3

Phase 3 generally consists of the two weeks following Phase 2. The purpose of Phase 3 is to gradually introduce normal foods back into your diet. It allows your metabolism to adjust back to normal foods. In Phase 3, you slowly up your caloric intake until you are at 1,500 per day.

There are still restrictions in Phase 3. You still cannot eat carbs, starches, and sugar. However, you can gradually reintroduce all meats, healthy oils, and dairy.

Phase 3 is meant to be taken slowly. You need to gradually reacclimate foods back into your diet. Some people find this the most difficult part of HCG, as their body has become so accustomed to a low caloric intake.

HCG – More Tips & Tricks

HCG – More Tips & Tricks

We know that HCG can seem like quite a daunting experience. But there are ways to ease this burden. In this section, we'll give you some general tips and tricks for making this diet work for you.

Are There Any Food Alternatives I Can Have?

The HCG diet is great, but it was written in the 1950s. The choices in HCG reflect the different diets back then. Many other dietary options have become quite common since the advent of HCG, but they still aren't reflected in the original dietary plan.

As a result, many have adapted HCG to the modern diet. There are many proteins, fruit, and vegetable options that are usually considered adequate substitutes and still allow you to adhere to HCG, even though they are not on the original list above.

These substitutes still allow you to largely avoid starches, sugars, carbs, butter, oils, and high-fat foods, but also open up your options to a more modern diet.

Let’s break these substitutes down by category:

Alternate Proteins

These additional protein options are lean, low in fat, and contain similar nutritional benefits to those that were found in the original HCG food list. They include:

  • Ground chicken
  • Greek yogurt (fat-free)
  • Extra-lean ground turkey
  • Tuna
  • Low-fat canned salmon
  • Low-carb protein powder

Alternate Vegetables

  • Bell pepper
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Kale
  • Button mushrooms
  • Sprouts
  • Zucchini

Alternate Fruits

  • Apricots
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Sprouts
  • Zucchini

So long as you adhere to the original principles of HCG, there are many other foods that extend beyond the original dietary restrictions. It is better to think of HCG as a set of guidelines, rather than hard-and-fast rules. This way, you can adhere to the principles of HCG while adapting it to your specific restrictions and preferences.

If you think there are other foods that would adequately fit into your HCG diet, a quick Google search usually does the trick. Chances are, someone can let you know whether you can make the substitution without breaking the diet.

Tips for Adhering to the HCG Diet

If you're really struggling with the HCG diet, it's best to remember some helpful tips and tricks for adhering to the diet properly. You'd be surprised what a difference these tips can make in the overall tolerability of the HCG diet, especially in Phase 2.

Drink Water

Don't forget to drink water on the HCG diet. You are recommended to drink two liters per day, and you should be drinking all of it. Not only does water fill you up, but it also helps to flush out your system. It can be easy to get into a habit of minimizing food and drinks, and we would advise against that.

Spice it Up

There are many additives and flavorings that can be added to HCG dishes. We recommend you take full advantage. One of the main impediments of a strict diet is not just hunger, it's boredom. Eating the same thing each day can be very difficult because it can get so tedious. You need to mix it up. A quick Google search will return hundreds of HCG-friendly recipes. So many different proteins, vegetable, and fruit combinations. And these recipes take advantage of so many different flavourings.

Even adding some salt and pepper can elevate a dish from bland to exciting, and you need to take full advantage of the tools at your disposal.

Half the battle of a diet

One Day at a Time

Thinking of the process as a whole can be quite daunting. Half the battle of a diet is just about having willpower. Most people find that it's much easier to stay on track if they just take it day-by-day. This way, you aren't faced with the immense burden of keeping with HCG for days and weeks. It's just today. And as long as you get through each day, you'll be totally fine.

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