An important part of health promotion planning is identifying priority areas for programs. A typical approach includes a needs assessment where a deficit-oriented approach captures problems within a community. Approaches that focus on strengths have emerged as potentially more appropriate and effective methods for program planning. This report describes the outcomes and learning from using both a deficit-oriented and strength-based approach for identifying and describing nutrition priorities of refugee communities. Focus groups (nA =A 11) were conducted using both methods with a total of 69 community members from Afghan, Burmese and Sudanese backgrounds. Analysis of the focus group transcripts using a content analysis approach identified key influences on food choice and determinants of health and nutrition. There were differences in the type of information obtained from the deficit-oriented and strength-based approach. Although the strength-based approach was unfamiliar to participants and offered several challenges, it identified unique aspects of the communities that were not identified by the deficit-oriented approach, and could be used as the basis for planning community health promotion strategies. Elements of each method should be considered when designing community program planning strategies.