Vanessa Hudgens has come a long way since her teenybopper Disney star days. When she first graced the screen as Gabriella Montez in High School Musical, she was a pint-sized teenager bouncing with energy, and over the years she blossomed into a sophisticated young woman. In addition, she's grown more comfortable with her petite, athletic figure – which she playfully shows off in bright couture gowns, bohemian-chic crop tops, and sporty workout outfits.

Hudgens has adopted a balanced, healthy diet since she noticed herself carrying a little extra weight on the set of HSM back in 2007. As a Disney starlet, she was a Cheetos and chocolate girl, but now she's the kind who actually craves vegetables. She's also taken fitness to another level and has trained alongside military personnel for her last movie!

Her Evolving Diet: After Hudgens became a little too familiar with processed snacks, she could barely squeeze into her HSM concert outfit. "I almost couldn't get my costume on. When I finally got it zipped, my boobs were up to my chin!" she told Shape. It was a wake up call for the young actress, who said she mostly subsisted on Cold Stone ice cream, Cheetos and Hot Pockets at the time. "[I] never touched vegetables; I needed to do something about my diet. My fingers were permanently stained orange from Cheetos," she joked about her empty-calorie eating days.

Now that the 22-year-old has ditched the junk food, she's actually converted into an ardent vegetable eater. She says her daily meals consist of spinach salad with grilled chicken or salmon, Marcona almonds, feta cheese, truffle oil, and a dash of fancy sea salt. The Mediterranean-inspired dish serves as a confidence booster of sorts. "When you're putting good stuff into your body, you feel so much better," she said.

She's also adopted a popular trick among the stars: eating mini meals. “I eat whatever, just in tiny portions. Honestly, when I tried to diet and eat fewer carbs and eat more protein, I ended up gaining a few pounds," she told Self.

Ramping Up The Exercise: Hudgens, who's always been the athletic type, works up a sweat with pilates, yoga, and spinning. She likes to sit front and center in cycling classes so she can find motivation from the knowledge that everyone in the room is looking at her from behind. She's also a fan of bringing friends (or her mom!) along to the gym because she says it "gives you someone to look at and say, ‘I’m dying!’ to." Vanessa and her mom are committed gym buddies: they're often seen hitting up kickboxing classes together in Los Angeles.

For her character in the 2011 girl-power fantasy action film, Sucker Punch, Hudgens prepped for her martial arts-fighting character with intense exercise. She spent five months in rigorous workouts alongside U.S. Navy SEALs, who have a reputation of enduring the toughest training in the world. (Seriously, the drop out rate for the SEALs formal training classes is 80%). "It was the most intense thing that anyone could ever do," she told People. In order to pull off her character's stunts, Hudgens aimed to build endurance but avoid the body builder look by sticking with full-body workouts. She shadowed the military members as they led her through 90-minute workouts replete with 50-pound kettle bells, ropes and tractor tires. She'd do 16-20 reps of planks to tone her upper body and 500 box jumps to strengthen her legs and butt. Hudgens has said some of the grueling sessions were so exhausting they left her in tears.

"I was bawling my eyes out because they push you so hard," she said. "But it’s amazing what you find from it. When you go so far you find a certain Zen within that and you know you can do anything. It’s very empowering." And isn't that what a balanced diet and tough fitness routine is all about, anyway? Gaining confidence, looking good – and consequently, feeling like you can conquer the world.

Body Watch gives the dish on how Hollywood's hottest women get their bodies, keep their bodies, and create their own healthy lifestyle mantras.

More pictures of Vanessa at the gym:
Vanessa+Hudgens in Vanessa Hudgens Leaves the Gym
Vanessa Hudgens leaves a Studio City gym with her mother, Gina, and two friends. Vanessa holds her pants up to keep them dry in the rain. (Bauer Griffin)more pics »Vanessa+Hudgens in Vanessa Hudgens Leaves a Gym
Vanessa Hudgens hides her face behind her arm as she leaves her gym after a work out. Vanessa is starring in the upcoming film "Beastly", a modern reimagining of the classic "Beauty and the Beast" story. (Pacific Coast News)more pics »And looking adorably boho-chic:
Vanessa Hudgens at Coachella
Vanessa Hudgens has fun with her friends at Coachella. Vanessa had on a hippy style outfit and the same big floppy hat that she wore to the festival last year. ( pics
Vanessa+Hudgens in Vanessa Hudgens at the Hotel Martinez
Vanessa Hudgens stays glued to her phone as she arrives at the Hotel Martinez. (Bauer Griffin)more pics »And lastly, looking glamorous on the red carpet:

Vanessa+Hudgens in 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival - The Art Of Elysium 3rd Annual Paradis Event
Vanessa Hudgens attends the Art Of Elysium 3rd Annual Paradis Event at Hotel Du Cap on May 15, 2011 in Antibes, France. (Getty Images)more pics »
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