Trying to lose weight can be a frustrating battle of highs and lows, with some resorting to unhealthy and unsafe methods to shed some pounds. Thankfully the HCG diet offers a healthy alternative for fast and effective weight loss. After completing phase 1 and phase 2 of the diet, your goal in phase 3 is to maintain the weight you’ve lost.
In this final phase, you’re eating low-carb, sugar-free meals. However, for a lot of people, this can be challenging as they are forced to re-learn how to cook. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best HCG phase 3 recipes!
HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadaotropin) is a hormone that is naturally produced in large quantities during pregnancy and, consequently, can be used to treat infertility in both men and women. However, it was also discovered that small, regular doses of HCG can cause the body to release abnormal fat when used with a low-calorie diet.
What is HCG Phase 3?
In 1954, a British doctor named Albert Simeons found HCG to aid in weight loss by combining the use of hormone supplements with calorie restriction. Simeons created an “HCG diet” which consisted of two main components:
1. Eating very few calories (around 500) per day
2. HCG hormone injections
Today, you can buy HCG products in various forms including injections, pellets, sprays, and oral drops. Fans of the HCG diet claim that it helps to boost your metabolism and allows you to lose large amounts of fat, without the hunger pains associated with other severe calorie restricted diets.
The HCG diet is generally divided into three phases:
Phase 1: Loading
In the first phase, individuals start taking HCG and start out eating a diet high in fat and high in calories for two days. This is when you get to eat as much as you can in order to prepare your body for the high metabolism that the HCG will stimulate. Usually, three days before starting the HCG diet, this intake of food will help keep your body energized and nourished as it adjusts.
Phase 2: Shedding
The shedding phase is when the magic starts – you start to see the number on the scale roll back. As you start taking the prescribed daily dose of HCG, your appetite will significantly reduce while your metabolism will ramp up. After having loaded up properly, you should not feel lethargic or hungry during the shedding phase. With less food coming in and a higher metabolism, your body will start to use stored fat deposits. During this phase, you may lose around one to two pounds per day.
The HCG diet generally suggests that meals contain one portion of lean protein, a vegetable, a fruit, and a small piece of bread. The only starches allowed on your menu are Melba toast or Grissini breadsticks, which should be used as sparingly as possible. Avoid eating butter, sugar, and oils, and be sure to increase your water intake. Coffee and tea are also allowed (thankfully!).
Phase 3: Maintenance
After completing the first two phases, you may feel that you still have more weight to shed. If this is the case, take a break for a few weeks, then repeat the loading and shedding phases.
Once you have achieved your optimal weight, the maintenance phase ensures you remain here and don’t gain everything back. Phase three can be quite challenging mentally, as you’re trying to maintain your weight after finishing the low calorie phase of the diet.
During this phase, you will not be taking the HCG. Instead, you’ll be eating well and exercising regularly. One significant benefit of taking HCG is that it effectively “resets” your metabolism, making maintenance quite easy. This means that the maintenance phase doesn’t involve crazy fad diets or extreme exercise. In the final phase, individuals stop taking HCG and gradually start to increase their food intake. However, you’ll want to wait three weeks before reintroducing starch and sugar to your diet.
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11 Best HCG Phase 3 Recipes
Coming out of Phase 2, it can be challenging to stay on track and eat the right meals as you introduce more calories. After your body has been running on such an extreme caloric deficit, you’ll likely have a lot of cravings and be tempted to overeat. The good news is there are plenty of low-carb, sugar free recipes that will keep you feeling full and satisfied. You’ll even be able to eat modifications of your favorite foods – like pizza soup and cheesecake! Here are a few of our favorite recipes:
1. Cranberry Chicken Salad
This simple and tasty Cranberry Chicken Salad is a great fridge staple for a quick, protein-filled meal or sandwich filling. It’s also great for packed lunches, picnics, and potlucks because it’s one of the few savory, healthy foods that doesn’t need to be eaten warm.
· 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked
· 6 celery stalks
· 2 cans water chestnuts
· 1/2 cup dried cranberries
· 2/3 cup real mayonnaise
· 1/2 cup sour cream
· 2 Tbsp.Dijon mustard
· 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
· 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
· 1/4 tsp. sea salt
· 1/2 tsp. black pepper
· 1 Tbsp. powdered sweetener (stevia or Splenda)
· 1/2 tsp. celery seed
· 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
Cut the cooked chicken breast into 1/2-inch pieces, and chop up the water chestnuts. Combine the diced chicken, celery pieces, water chestnuts, and cranberries into a large bowl, set aside. In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar with a whisk until smooth. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, sweetener, and stir. Add celery seed and green onions and stir again. Combine the mayonnaise mixture with the chicken and let chill for at least 30 minutes.
2. Chicken Parmesan
There are hundreds of chicken parmesan recipes in the world, but this one is sure to be a favorite. It's easy, simple, and a little healthier than your classic chicken parmesan. When you're craving chicken parmesan, this is exactly what you want.
· 1 lb chicken breast tenders
· 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
· 3 Tbsp. olive oil
· 1/4 cup almond meal
· 1/2 Tbsp. oregano
· 1/2 Tbsp. basil
· 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
· 1/2 tsp. onion powder
· 1 egg, beaten
· 1-oz can crushed tomatoes
Before you begin this recipe, it’s best to keep a bowl of warm, soapy water in the sink, that way you can quickly wash your hands after handling the chicken, and you don’t have to worry about cross contamination.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and beat egg in a different bowl. Dip the chicken pieces in the egg, and then coat the chicken with the breading. Set onto a baking sheet while the olive oil heats in a pan. You should heat the oil to about medium high heat. Brown the breaded chicken on both sides in the hot oil, and then place into a baking dish on top of a couple scoops of the crushed tomatoes. Cover the chicken with the rest of the crushed tomatoes and extra cheese on top. Bake the chicken until it is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
3. Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
You’ve gotta have a treat once in a while – right? This one tastes great (hello, chocolate) while the peanut butter is a source of protein to keep you feeling full.
· 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
· 1 Tbsp. sugar-free crunchy peanut butter
· 1/3 cup coconut sugar
· 1 tsp. vanilla
· pinch of salt
Melt the chocolate and mix in the remaining ingredients while it is still warm. Let the mixture cool, and then roll a tablespoon into balls. Dust with coconut sugar and enjoy the dessert.
4. Barbacoa Beef Salad
Instant pot meals are perfect for when you don’t want to warm up your kitchen – especially in the summertime! They’re also super speedy; this beef salad will be done in no time.
· 1/2 Onion
· 1/4 cup Lime Juice
· 1/4 cup Tomato Paste
· 4 cloves Garlic
· 1 1/2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
· 2 tsp Cumin
· 2 tsp Salt
· 1 tsp Oregano
· 1 tsp Cloves or Allspice
· 1 cup Beef Broth
· 1-2 Bay Leaves
· 2-4 lbs chuck roast
Start with a chuck roast of anywhere between 2-4 lbs in size. If you would like to have leftovers for more meals, opt for more. Cut it in half and trim most off the visible fat. Place in slow cooker or instant pot.
In food processor or Vitamix, puree the onion, lime juice, tomato paste, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt, oregano, and cloves. Pour the puree over the roast in the slow cooker. Pour about a cup of beef broth on top and add a few bay leaves.
Cook on low or "slow cook" in the Instant pot for 7 hours. When the roast is done, shred it using a fork and put it back into the sauce in the slow cooker. Keep on low for another couple of hours to really soak up the flavor of the sauce. Serve over lettuce.
5. Breakfast Pizza Quiche
Who said you can’t eat pizza for breakfast? Swap out your breakfast smoothie for this pizza quiche. Loaded with protein, it will keep you going through the day and will keep your taste buds happy. Win-win!
· 4 oz Cream Cheese
· 4 Eggs
· ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
· 1/3 cup Heavy Cream
· ½ tsp Oregano
· 2 cups Shredded cheese
· 1 clove Garlic, crushed
· 1 Roma Tomato, sliced
· 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
· Chopped onions, green pepper, mushrooms, spinach or your favorite toppings
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9" glass baking dish. Beat cream and eggs until smooth. Add cream cheese, parmesan and spices. Mix in shredded cheese and press into the bottom of the glass dish as the "crust". Bake for 30 minutes. Top with tomato slices, mozzarella cheese, and other toppings as desired. Bake 10 minutes more until bubbly and brown. Slice and serve.
6. Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
Barbecue season doesn’t always have to be hotdogs and hamburgers – try these veggie kabobs next time you’re grilling. They’re healthy, colorful, easy to make, and delicious!
· Vegetables of choice
· Bell pepper
· Red onion
Chop veggies of your choice into large chunks. Thread veggie chunks onto skewers, spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill to desired tenderness, about 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
7. Low Carb Pizza Soup
Pizza in a bowl – what more could you ask for?! Pizza is a tough one to give up, but luckily this pizza soup will have your back in moments of weakness. You get all the cheesy, tomato-y, veggie flavors of a pizza without the carbs. This one is sure to be a favorite for the whole family.
· 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
· 3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
· 2 small or 1 large Onion, diced
· 2 cups Chicken Broth or Vegetable Stock
· 2 cups Water
· 2 14oz cans Tomato Sauce
· 3 Zucchini, noodled (use spiralizer)
· 1 Tbsp fresh Oregano or 1 tsp dried
· 2 Tbsp fresh Basil or 2 tsp dried
· Salt and Pepper to taste
· Parmesan Cheese, grated, for garnish
Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté garlic 2-3 min. Add onion and sauté 4-5 min. Add broth, water, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and add zucchini, oregano and basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30-40 minutes - the longer the better. Top each serving with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
8. Spinach Ricotta Bites
Whether as a quick reheated breakfast, big family brunch, dinner party appetizer, or an evening snack, these spinach ricotta bites will have everyone asking for more – even the kids!
· 2 Tbsp Butter
· 1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped
· 1 Garlic Clove, minced
· 2 Large Eggs, Beaten
· 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese (low or full fat ricotta will work)
· 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
· 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
· 1/4 Tsp Salt
· 1 10 Oz Pkg Frozen Chopped Spinach, defrosted and drained WELL (I use my hands to squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as possible)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and cook the onions for 4 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute, then set aside to cool. Whisk eggs in a bowl then stir in ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
Once combined, stir in spinach, salt and cooled onion and garlic mixture. Pour the mixture into lightly greased mini muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is set and golden on top. Serve.
9. Guilt-free Cheesecake
Losing weight can sometimes mean giving up the treats you love – but not anymore! This cheesecake recipe will satisfy your strongest dessert cravings without the feelings of guilt afterwards.
· 1 cup Pecans or Almonds, ground
· 2 Tbsp Erythritol, like Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Zero or Z-Sweet
· 3 Tbsp Butter, melted
· 4 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese (regular or reduced fat)
· 1 cup Erythritol, like Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Zero or Z-Sweet
· 4 Eggs
· 1 cup Plain Yogurt (Sour Cream would work as well)
· 1 Tbsp Vanilla
Combine crust ingredients and press onto bottom of 9-inch Springform pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes and remove from oven. Then increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
For the filling, combine the cream cheese and sweetener by mixing at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in yogurt and vanilla. Pour over crust.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees and continue baking for one hour. Loosen the cake from the edge of the pan and let cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator. For extra yumminess, top with sugar free chocolate syrup or fruit.
10. Broccoli Cheese Soup
Comfort in a bowl, this creamy, cheesy recipe is perfect on a cold day. You’ll love it so much you’ll want to double up the recipe for leftovers the next day! Simple ingredients and easy instructions make this a weekday staple.
· 4 cups (or 1 carton) chicken broth
· 4 cups broccoli florets
· 1/2 cup heavy cream
· 1 cup shredded cheese
Pour broth into a large saucepan and add broccoli. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. You want the broccoli to be tender but still a little on the crunchy side. Scoop out some of the smaller broccoli pieces and set them aside. Put the rest into a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend into a puree. Add reserved broccoli, cream and cheese. Serve.
11. Stir Fry Chicken and Veggies
This meal will make you forget that you’re on a low-carb diet! It’s so tasty and will fill you up. Serve with cauliflower rice to satisfy those carb-y cravings.
· 2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
· 2 Tbsp Oil (Sesame is best)
· 4 Tbsp Bragg's, Tamari or Soy Sauce
· 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
· 5-6 chicken tenders
· Vegetables of choices (like onion, bell pepper, and broccoli)
Mix the garlic, oil, and soy sauce following sauce into a bowl. Cut up chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, then mix with the sauce and let it marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.
Heat 3 Tbsp oil in wok or large pan on medium high. Sesame oil will give it more of an Asian flair, but any oil will work. Stir fry the vegetables, once cooked and slightly browned, remove veggies to a separate bowl.
Next, stir fry the marinated chicken in the pan until the chicken is cooked through. Add the veggies back in and then stir to coat with sauce. Serve over cauliflower rice.
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HCG Phase 3 Foods List
The below phase 3 food list might seem long, but it’s not necessarily exhaustive. During this phase it’s important to remember that you want to focus on eating low-carb and sugar-free foods, ideally also avoiding anything processed. If you are checking out the ingredients of an item not on our list, look for no added sugar, no flour, and less than 10 carbs per serving. If the item checks all these boxes, it’s likely safe to eat during phase 3!
Meat and Protein
· White Fish
Meats to Avoid
· Glazed Meats such as Ham
· Bacon With Brown Sugar
· Processed Sausage
· Processed Hot Dogs
· Sprouts (bean, alfalfa, etc.)
· Greens (lettuce, spinach, chard, etc.)
· Hearty Greens (collards, mustard, kale, etc.)
· Bok Choy
· Sea Vegetables (nori, etc.)
· Green Bell Peppers
· Red Bell Peppers
· Jalapeño Peppers
· Summer Squash
· Scallions or green onions
· Bamboo shoots
· Brussel Sprouts
· Artichoke Hearts
· Spaghetti Squash
· Celery Root
· Water Chestnuts
Vegetables to Avoid
· Most Winter Squash (especially acorn and butternut)
Fruit to Avoid
· Plain Greek Yogurt
· Sour Cream
Dairy to Avoid
· Sweetened Yogurt
· Low-fat yogurt (unless it is Greek yogurt)
· Most hot sauce (sugar free)
· Some salsa (sugar free)
· Most peanut butter (sugar free)
Condiments to Avoid
· All salad dressings with added sugar
· BBQ Sauce
· Tomato Sauce with added sugar
Do you have a favorite phase 3 recipe? We’re always looking for new recipes, so let us know in the comments below!
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