Eating five servings of produce every day is challenging, but at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), the challenge of consuming fruits and vegetables takes on a new meaning with Colorful Choices.

Colorful Choices is a six-week health challenge hosted by BCBSNE’s wellness team. The goal of the challenge is to eat five servings of produce every day, including a minimum of three vegetables, which encourages participants to develop long-lasting, healthy eating habits.

Healthy eating habits, like consuming produce from every color of the spectrum as the name Colorful Choices suggests, provide a variety of health benefits that make munching on broccoli florets well worth it. In fact, eating a fruit-and-vegetable-rich diet reduces an individual’s risk of heart disease and stroke and protects against certain types of cancers, according to

The health benefits of a produce-rich diet stem from the nutrients – like potassium, fiber and folic acid – found in fruits and vegetables, said Kathy Nellor, manager of BCBSNE wellness services. While most people know that piling a plate full of produce is an easy way to get these key nutrients, eating fruits and vegetables is sometimes easier said than done.

Nellor knows a few tricks for eating more greens, however, and said it’s as simple as making small lifestyle changes, like reaching for a piece of fruit instead of a bag of chips when a snack attack strikes.

“At mealtime, make sure you incorporate at least one fruit and one veggie,” Nellor said. “Stock up and make them accessible. Put fresh fruits and vegetables in easy to grab places, like a fruit bowl or cleaned, sliced and in the refrigerator.”

Overall, Nellor said the challenge will help participants take stock of their eating habits and “make simple changes to make fruits and vegetables a part of their daily meal plan.” These simple changes lead to extensive health benefits. The proof is in the pudding – or in the case of Colorful Choices – in a fruit-packed smoothie bowl.