Research shows that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity, some cancers, diabetes, and hypertension, among other things. Despite knowing the benefits, it is still difficult for many people to get their recommended daily servings.

That’s where the Colorful Choices program can help. Over the last few years, this eight-week online nutrition program has helped thousands of U-M faculty and staff eat more produce. Registration is now open and tracking starts June 24.

Colorful Choices encourages benefits-eligible faculty and staff to eat fruits and vegetables without worrying about counting calories, weighing or measuring. Instead, the goal is to eat a colorful variety of produce in red, orange, yellow or white, green, and blue or violet.

“Adding a wide variety of colorful produce to your diet gives you the vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients your body needs,” says Erica Owen, manager of nutrition and weight management for MHealthy. “When your body has the nutrients it needs, you have more energy, feel better and reduce your risk of developing some chronic health conditions.”

Available through a partnership between MHealthy and The StayWell Co., Colorful Choices also includes:

  • Individual or team participation.
  • Online tracking and access to a mobile app.
  • Healthy recipes.
  • Healthy eating tips.

Starting in July, farm-fresh produce will be easier to find on campus. Look for M Farmers Markets on select days at seven campus locations.

Anyone interested in getting budget-friendly recipes, and time-saving tips on cutting and cooking vegetables can sign up for a new Vegetable-of-the-Week newsletter. Starting this summer, each issue will highlight a different vegetable available at the farmers markets and area groceries.