NAIT’s butter chicken tastes the same, but more people can eat the highly popular dish.
It’s one of several halal chicken options NAIT began offering in the fall at all campuses, a move to support inclusivity.
“Our staff and students were asking about halal options so we wanted to meet that need,” explains NAIT registered dietitian Nick Creelman.
Many Muslims only eat halal meat, which means permissible in Arabic. Until recently, NAIT couldn’t find a large enough supplier to support campus-wide halal offerings.
Starting in September, several hot entrée items and pre-made Grab and Go items, such as chicken wraps began bearing the halal symbol.
It's a welcome change for Alisha Shah, an administrative assistant at NAIT, who’s been eating halal since she was young.
“I was really thrilled and excited. We have a diverse population at NAIT and in Edmonton. It’s more inclusive and welcoming for staff and students,” says Shah. “Anybody can eat halal.”
Running its own food services meant the polytechnic could easily make the shift. “We try to focus on the specific needs of the NAIT population,” says Kathryn Howden, a registered dietitian and director of retail and ancillary services. Before offering halal, NAIT sought insight from staff and students, and consulted with members of the Canadian College and University Food Service Association.
The goal is to expand its halal chicken offerings and to eventually offer beef options as well, says Howden.