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The following information is for educational purposes only. Due to new FDA Compounding Guidelines and Telehealth Certifications,
Nu Image Medical no longer offers the HCG Weight Loss Program. GOOD NEWS! We have developed something better and easier: WAYT-less!

Food Prep During the HCG Diet

Food Prep During the HCG Diet

Food Prep During the HCG Diet

A major key to a successful HCG diet is to prepare your food ahead of time so that you can avoid having to eat out even for one meal. Before you start Phase 2 you should be sure to review the list of allowed foods during the VLCD phase, and do your shopping ahead of time to ensure that you have everything for the diet. At Nu Image Medical we provide you with a list of HCG diet recipes that you can use, and it is recommended that you also come up with your own creative recipes for the diet based on your preferences.

Eating out is one of the biggest dangers for breaking the protocol or cheating on accident, so try to shop for all of the food that you need for several days at once, and be sure to plan your meals out as well. Don't skip a day on the diet or cheat for a meal because you don't have enough of the right HCG diet foods available. In this article we will describe the shelf life of some of the most popular HCG diet foods so that you know how often you will need to purchase them. In general, you can expect to be able to purchase about a week's worth of food at a time, so you can plan your meals out a week at a time or however else you prefer.

Shelf life of common HCG diet foods

Below are some of the most common foods that you may eat during Phase 2 or Phase 3, and although this list is not comprehensive it will help you with your shopping. Remember that these are just guidelines, and that you have to use common sense and know when food is spoiled or doesn't look safe to eat. Each type of food has its own signs of spoilage that you can look up online if you aren't sure, and a general shelf life is described below.


  • Strawberries - fresh strawberries last for 5-7 days in the refrigerator, and frozen strawberries last for 6-8 months in the freezer. You can always buy frozen strawberries if you don't mind the taste and texture, and they will easily last for the duration of the diet.

  • Grapefruit - grapefruit stays fresh for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator, so you can purchase grapefruit at the beginning of the VLCD and they will last for almost the entire duration if you are on the 26 day diet. They last longer when refrigerated.

  • Apples - apples last quite a while; they can last 2-4 weeks on the counter and 1-2 months when refrigerated.

  • Oranges - oranges last for 2-3 weeks on the counter and 1-2 months in the refrigerator. Like apples and grapefruit you won't need to purchase them very often.


Fresh protein is the one thing that you have to be very careful with in terms of purchasing more often. Frozen protein of course stores much longer than fresh protein but the quality can be affected. If you don't mind defrosting your protein during the HCG diet, find a good source of organic meat, purchase the portions that you will need for the duration of the diet, and freeze it so that it will last the duration of the diet.

Also, cooked beef and other proteins will last longer when refrigerated than raw protein. Otherwise, most types of raw protein will only be good for a few days past the sell by date, even when refrigerated. Below is the shelf life of some of the allowable proteins for Phase 2.

  • Lean ground beef - lean ground beef will last for a few days past the printed date when refrigerated, and 7 days after it has been cooked.

  • Beef steaks - beef steaks such as top round, sirloin tip, or tri-tip steaks will last for 1-2 days past the printed date, and 7 days in the refrigerator when cooked.

  • Fish - most of the fish allowed on the HCG diet will last for just a few days in the fridge after purchase, if you purchase it fresh. If you do not plan on cooking fish within a few days of purchasing it, be sure to freeze it. Freezer storage times can vary from one type of fish to another, for instance cod can be stored for 6-8 months in the freezer in the proper sealed container, however raw crab meat can only be stored 3-4 months in the freezer. In either case it doesn't matter for the HCG diet; if you want to freeze your seafood it will last for the duration of the 26 or 46 day HCG diet.

  • Chicken - fresh chicken breasts can be stored for 1-2 days in the fridge, and once they are cooked they are good for 3-4 days. So you can cook chicken breast meals ahead of time for several days. Chicken breasts will last up to 9 months in the freezer.

The longer that you store any of these meats in the freezer, the lower their quality will be, and when you store them be sure that you properly seal them in an airtight container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.

The freezer is helpful on the HCG diet

As you can see, if you don't mind defrosting frozen foods, the freezer can be very helpful on the HCG diet, as it saves you a lot of time in having to go out and shop every day or every other day for your HCG diet meals. You can always purchase the foods that you need for a week or more and freeze them.

Also think about cooking meals ahead of time and portioning them out, for instance you can cook several chicken breasts using a marinade made from the seasonings allowed on the HCG diet, and portion out 3.5 ounce servings for your dinner for 3 to 4 days. Knowing that chicken breasts will only store for 4 days or less you can defrost only what you need and cook for 3-4 days at a time. You'll save a ton of time by preparing your meals this way, but of course this is just one idea.

You may prefer cooking with fresh ingredients, and if that's the case you may need to shop more often but it may be worth it for you. At Nu Image Medical we offer you the option of purchasing prepared meals with our food delivery program, and we provide complete 500 calorie daily meals at an affordable price of only $20.00 per day. Get more information on our HCG diet food delivery program.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

4 min read