Like many early achievers (Vanessa rocketed to stardom in High School Musical at just 17), Vanessa Hudgens has had to ask herself—what's next? The 22-year-old wasted no time finding the answer. This month she's starring in her first non-musical movies: Beastly, a modern retelling of the classic "Beauty and the Beast," and Sucker Punch, an action-fantasy film about a gang of kick-ass girls who escape a mental institution. During her downtime, she's exploring a new career that has nothing to do with acting. And she's learned how to fly solo—having split from her longtime beau, Zac Efron. Hudgens credits a healthy lifestyle with giving her the confidence to move forward. Here are some insights that have helped her reach her goals.
Cheetos Are Not a Major Food Group
Back in 2007, Hudgens was like many teenagers: completely addicted to junk food. "I was so unhealthy," she admits. "I used to go to Cold Stone Creamery, get a tub of Butterfinger ice cream, and eat it all before bedtime. And my fingers were permanently stained orange from Cheetos."
Her aha moment came while she was on tour with High School Musical that year. The company took a short break, so Hudgens stopped doing the rigorous dance routines for a few weeks. "When I came back, I almost couldn't get my costume on. I needed to do something about my diet."
First, she started eating breakfast every day. "I like egg white omelets with veggies, or oatmeal with almonds and fruit," she says. For lunch and dinner, she has a spinach salad with grilled chicken or salmon, marcona almonds, feta, a little truffle oil, and a sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt. "It's my favorite meal," she says. "When you're putting good stuff into your body, you feel so much better."