Healthy Food Options in Uptown Plaza on Camelback and Central

Flower Child Menu. Courtesy of Megan Onofrei ’20.

Megan Onofrei, Sports and Fitness Editor

After a long day of school, Xavier and Brophy students are usually very hungry and desperate for a snack. Luckily for us, the Uptown Plaza on Camelback and Central offers a variety of different restaurants, many which have healthy options. The most popular restaurants there are Sauce, Chipotle, Flower Child, Nekter, and AJ’s. Both Flower Child and Nekter have a “healthy philosophy”, creatively using fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in their menu. In contrast, Sauce and Chipotle have adapted healthier options into their menu. AJ’s is by far the most popular stop because of its speed, cheap price, and the high quality of the delicious drinks that are made there.

Each offer healthy options, but a meal can always become healthier when reducing the serving size and substituting certain ingredients for others, with more nutritional value. Sauce Pizza and Wine is a restaurant with an Italian cuisine. Salad is always a healthy option, no dressing will decrease the calorie count and the roasted vegetable, vegetable or quinoa beet and arugula salad are popular options among students. Sauce’s pizzas are generally low in calories but a small pizza size with less toppings decreases the calorie count. In addition, red sauce is healthier than white sauce because of the saturated fat content in white sauce. Sauce also offers gluten free crust, which decreases the amount of calorie intake of a pizza. Sophomore Reagan Vanorman says, “When you think of pizza, you don’t think of it being healthy but Sauce’s gluten free options provides a lower calorie option.”

Another popular option is Chipotle Mexican Grill, which gives its customers the liberty of creating their own meal. They can choose from a variety of different options: burrito, burrito bowl, tacos, salad, chips and salsa/guacamole, and quesadillas. The least amount of calories for the meat offered would be either steak or sofritas. Getting brown rice also provides more nutrients for the body and it would be better to not get any beans but the more healthy bean would be pinto beans. In terms of toppings, tomato or tomatillo chili salsas are the best options and choosing cheese over sour cream would be better because it has less calories from fat. Junior Vicky Jimenez says, “When I go to Chipotle, I try to focus on getting healthier options, such as brown rice instead of white rice and salads instead of burritos.” A general, popular healthy option at Chipotle is a burrito bowl with steak, brown rice, tomato salsa, cheese, and lettuce, that all results in a total of 500 calories.

Both Flower Child and Nekter incorporates nutritional ingredients into their delicious dishes. At Flower Child they serve “feel-good” food such as salads, plates, bowls, and whole grain wraps. For customers with certain food restrains or allergies, the restaurant makes accommodations and the menu shows whether a dish is vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free. Nekter Juice Bar serves juices, smoothies, and acai bowls. Each product contains nutrients, protein, antioxidants and vitamins that are beneficial to the human body. The juice with the least amount of calories is the Greenie, with 120-240 calories depending on the size. This particular juice contains parsley, spinach, kale, celery, cucumber, lemon, and apple. The smoothie with the least amount of calories is the Pink Flamingo and Orange Crush which each have 180-270 calories, depending on the size. Nekter acai bowls are also very popular among teenagers and adults alike. The acai bowl with the least amount of calories is the Acai Banana Berry Bowl, which is 240 calories including acai topped with granola, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and agave nectar.

Out of all of the places in Uptown Plaza, AJ’s Fine Foods is the most popular among Xavier girls. It is a grocery store that has a deli, bakery, drink station, and a variety of different produce and snacks. The drink station is by far the most popular for Xavier students, it is packed every day after school. Coffee drinks, iced teas, lemonades, arnold palmers, and smoothies are offered there. Junior Kendall Swanson says, “I usually go to AJ’s 3 times a day. Whenever I go, I get a Watermelon Lemonade and Rotisserie Chicken.” The drinks made at AJ’s are very simple, tasty, and rarely cost more than a few dollars. The Uptown Plaza on Camelback and Central in Phoenix, Arizona has a variety of tasty, healthy options such as Sauce, Chipotle Flower Child, Nekter, and AJ’s. Xavier and Brophy students can benefit greatly from these options because they also promote a healthier lifestyle that incorporates low prices and tasty food.

AJ’s Drink Station Menu. Courtesy of Megan Onofrei ’20.