Sit back in your chair and close your eyes. Picture white sandy beaches with water the color of clear, cool aquamarine. Colorful fish you can see simply just standing on the beach. Yes, the water is that clear. The rhythm of the day drops a few notches down from what you are used to at home. You have arrived in the U.S Virgin Islands. It’s a great place to visit for unwinding and enjoying nature. And the beautiful climate, lovely people and delicious Caribbean food pull it all together to have a uniquely memorable trip.
If you are like me, when you travel you want to enjoy the local food, feel great, continue to stay fit and avoid coming home with extra unwanted weight. The goal during a vacation, even if you’re trying to lose weight, is weight maintenance. Don’t try to lose weight when you are away. Enjoying the local food is part of the experience. But be mindful when making food choices. That is always key to good health. Read below for my tips on healthy eating in the USVI and staying fit. The USVI includes St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. For this blog, we will limit our exploration to St. Thomas and St. John. We hope to cover St. Croix on another Caribbean trip.
Healthy Eating Tips:
- Try to avoid fried foods, which are aplenty on these islands. Ask for grilled fish and chicken, instead of fried. Ask for salad or vegetables in place of the French fries.
- Portions are large in the USVI. To keep calories down, share a salad and an entree with your dining partner.
- Choose more salads, grilled fish and vegetable-based dishes when you travel here.
- For dessert, order fresh fruit. They grow many delicious fruits here, including mangoes. Yum.
- Go easy on the alcohol. Yes, these islands are known for their rum and it is abundant. Instead, save your calories, and enjoy seltzer with lemon and a splash of juice.
- Go for a hike. These islands are covered with lush greenery and trails. Or walk the beaches.
- Swim and snorkel. The water is gorgeous and the sea life is amazing. Think colorful fish, sea turtles and stingrays.
- Walk through the towns and take in the amazing history of these beautiful islands.
Restaurants we recommend:
Jen’s Island Cafe (St. Thomas) Amazing curries and other Indian dishes. Many vegan options. Highly recommend for a casual lunch while strolling through the picturesque town of Charlotte Amalie.
Mafolie Restaurant (St. Thomas) The food is delicious Caribbean cuisine with many plant-based options. The restaurant is located cliffside and the view is beyond outstanding.
ZoZo’s (St. John) Simply the best restaurant in St. John. Terrific Italian dishes with an emphasis on fresh seafood and vegetables.
Conclusion: The USVI is a fabulous place to unwind and enjoy nature. The local people are so friendly and the weather can’t be beat. And the beaches…..they have the most beautiful soft, white sand and are lush with palm trees. Many restaurants offer delicious local produce and fresh-caught seafood. What more could you want when you need a little R and R? We highly recommend this travel destination.
Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is an award-winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is passionate about helping people transform their lives with optimal nutrition. She received the 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year from the New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Lisa is an entrepreneur, food influencer, speaker, private practitioner, and writer. She consults with food startups and restaurants to help put health on the menu. Lisa is the author of the ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice she specializes in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her two degrees in Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and virtually. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here.