If you’re looking to start the HCG plan, you’ll wonder how to consume only 500 calories per day. You will have questions about what you need to eat and what you must avoid. Before commencing the HCG diet program, it is highly recommended to talk to your doctor/ physician. Once you’re aware of what type of supplements suit you better and how to consume them, you can use the following guide to plan your diet.

Phase 1 – The loading phase

Many people don’t pay much attention to this phase and jump right into the second phase. But this is an extremely important phase, even though it lasts for only 1 or 2 days. As the name suggests, in Phase 1 you ‘load’ your body with foods that are high in fats. This fat and the all the old fat stored in your arms, belly, thighs, and everywhere else will be used by your body in the second phase, so building up the calories is crucial. Since you need to rely on a high-calorie diet, you can eat whatever you want. Try to include all those food items you’ll develop a craving for when you’re on the second and the most important phase. So binge on ice-creams, cheese sandwiches, potato chips, and pizzas, but do not forget to take your supplements. This HCG Diet Drops Guide will give you an idea how to consume your drops effectively. If you prefer HCG injections or pellets, ensure that they’re administered safely.

Phase 2 – The weight loss phase

In this phase, you’re supposed to have a restricted diet of 500 calories per day, along with your HCG supplements. This is going to be a long phase (4 to 7 weeks), in which you will lose up to 2 pounds a day!

Take a look at some of the HCG approved foods you can have.

1. HCG approved seafood

  • Fish
  • Lobster
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Crab meat

2. HCG approved meats

  • Extra lean beef
  • Buffalo meat
  • Veal (sirloin, loin chops)
  • Chicken breast

3. HCG approved vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Fennel
  • Green salads
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Beet greens
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Onions
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Chard
  • Shallots

4. HCG approved fruits

  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Apple
  • Strawberries
  • Lemons

5. Other food items approved by HCG

  • Bread/ breadsticks
  • Herbal Tea
  • Coffee
  • Natural spices
  • Mustard powder
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of milk (This can be added to your morning coffee)
  • Egg
  • Fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • Spices, herbs, and seasonings, provided they do not contain oil

If you’re confused how to plan your diet, you can have 200 calories of protein, 130 calories of fruit, 130 calories of vegetables, and 40 calories of miscellaneous food items. Or you could divide the diet into three meals – 200 cals for breakfast, 150 calories for lunch and 150 cals for dinner. Don’t forget to drink lots of water, as your body is going to need it to function better.

Foods to avoid

  • Oils – Unlike other diets, you are not allowed to have any type of oils and fats in HCG diet. While preparing your meals, do not use cooking oil at all as they could increase the number of calories you’re consuming. You can use oil-free recipes and can change the way you prepare your meals. For instance, you can steam, boil or grill instead of frying. If at all you need to fry, you can use non-stick pans.
  • Fatty meats – Since you’re not allowed to intake sugar or starch, you must not include fatty choices of seafood and meats. So, pork, lamb, beef ribs, salmon, tuna, herring, canned meats, and pickled fish are a strict no-no.
  • Sugar – Needless to say, not just in the HCG-diet but in almost every diet you must avoid sugar intake. Avoid all types of sugary food including chocolates, cakes, candies, cookies, bakery items, ketchup and other sauces, fruit juices, granola bars, etc.
  • Carbohydrates – Avoid carbohydrate-rich food items like rice and starchy vegetables such as yams, squash, pumpkin, beans, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
  • Alcoholic beverages – Though there is a school of thought that allows the intake of alcohol during your HCG weight loss program, it is highly recommended to stay away from alcoholic beverages. When you do not have enough carbohydrates in your system, the intake of alcohol could increase intoxication. Some alcoholic beverages also have a lot of sugar content and are high in calories. The intake of alcohol could affect your lifestyle – you could crave fried snacks as an accompaniment to your drink and you could develop poor sleeping habits.
  • Other food items – Though you’re allowed to include HCG-approved vegetables in your diet, avoid eating canned vegetables. You should also avoid cream cheese, flavored sodas, and drinks with artificial sweeteners.

Phase 3 – The maintenance phase

The next phase is the maintenance or the stabilization phase. The duration of the phase is 3 weeks. During this phase, you must stop your HCG supplements, and slowly introduce new food items in your diet. You can increase your calorie intake to 700 calories per day in the first week, and to 1500 in the next two weeks. Your body is slowly getting used to the low-calorie diet without supplements in the third phase. As far as your diet is concerned, you can include all the HCG-approved foods from Phase 2 along with healthy carbohydrates such as oatmeal, fruits, brown rice, and quinoa. You must continue avoiding sugars and starches. You must slowly introduce good fats and omega fatty acids in your diet. Some of the good fats you can include are avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, oily fish, nut butter, and fatty cuts of meat. In Phase 3, it is recommended to stop eating when you feel full. Try to avoid foods that trigger the temptation to eat more. For instance, if you’re fond of cheese, don’t indulge in more than one slice. Since you won’t be on HCG supplements during this phase, you must carefully observe your weight on a daily basis. If you notice that you’re increasing weight (more than 2 pounds a day), you should slowly restrict your diet for a couple of days to normalize it.

Phase 4 – The lifestyle phase

The key to the final phase of the HCG diet is to maintain your ideal weight. You can still follow the food items included in the HCA-approved diet plan, with a higher calorie intake. In this phase, you can introduce low-fat milk, fresh fruits, and most vegetables. However, you must avoid the following:

  • Fruits and vegetables – bananas, watermelon, and mangoes
  • Vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, carrots, and peas
  • Processed meat
  • Sweetened yogurt
  • Ketchup and other sugary sauces
  • Honey
  • White bread
  • All types of pasta that are not whole grain
  • White flour
  • White rice
  • Fried snacks
  • Other sugars and starches

When we say avoid, you don’t have to completely restrict yourself from an occasional indulgence. It is okay to have a donut once in a while.

Throughout all the phases, you do not have to exercise much, as you will need more food for energy. In the first three phases, you should be careful of working out too much. However, in the final phase, you are allowed to include more exercises. By the 4th phase, your body will be used to the type of food you have been consuming. Sometimes you might notice weight gain after phase 4. You can restart the weight loss program after three weeks of completion of the previous one.