BACKGROUND:Women of South Asian descent have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), and type 2 diabetes mellitus compared to Caucasian women. Dietary advice provided by health practitioners to this group has been found to be culturally inappropriate. The aim of this study was to describe the dietary intakes of South Asian women with gestational diabetes and use this information to develop culturally appropriate dietary models for education and support of dietary management. METHOD:An in-depth diet and lifestyle survey was administered with 13 eligible women. Dietary histories were collected for pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and post-GDM diagnosis to evaluate changes in dietary intake, diet and health beliefs and traditional foods consumed during pregnancy. RESULTS:The diets of participants did not meet nutrient requirements for pregnancy; specific areas on concern were dietary fibre, calcium, iron, folate and iodine. Vegetarians were particularly at risk with regards to energy and protein intake. Generally dietary intakes of these women with GDM were not consistent with guidelines for management of GDM. Confusion about what they should eat for GDM, health practitioner advice and conflict with cultural expectations about foods to consume during pregnancy was evident. CONCLUSION:The dietary information collected from these women was used to model sample menus for GDM that were culturally appropriate and consistent with vegetarian and non-vegetarian eating patterns.