Homemade Sports Drink

We have a real problem over here at our house.  Baseball.  Well, not exactly baseball.  I’m delighted that my son is playing baseball, but  organized baseball offers yet another time when all of the other kids get to have something that I don’t allow.  Gatorade is nasty stuff full of nasty sugar, artificial colors and a few other chemicals that I don’t think are necessary for re-hydration.

So why not make your own?  Sports drinks replenish electrolytes, water and carbs (in the form of sugar).

I found lots of recipes, mostly focusing on lemon or lime juice, salt and some form of sugar in water. The ratios seem to range from 1/4tsp – 3/4 tsp electrolytes per quart of water.  Plus most of them throw in sugar, some in appalling amounts.  Pretty simple, right?

Not simple enough.  I wanted a system that allows me to quickly and easily mix up a batch for the sweaty moments in life like TN backyard baseball, or TN living room death by Jillian Michaels video.   No citrus squeezing and very little measuring if you please, and maybe something that sort of resembles something my son’s friends drink.

Here’s my system:

I mixed the following in a small plastic container with a lid:

2 Tbsp. Potassium chloride ( salt substitute available at the grocery store
1 Tbsp. Sodium chloride (table salt)
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. Cal-Mag (a powdered supplement of Calcium and Magnesium)
I found another recipe that recommended using epsom salts (which are magnesium salt) in a sports drink and I have done so.  Much cheaper than the Cal-Mag, but I only found that reference on 1 site and can no longer find it.  You can skip the magnesium and calcium  entirely if you want to.

Now you can make your mix simpler than this – I settled on this as a mix of different electrolytes because it helps us feel better after a heavy sweat, plus the name brands include potassium in theirs.  You could just mix potassium chloride and sodium chloride if you wish.  Or some recommend himalayan salt alone which has trace minerals in it.  Just have your mix in your container handy.

Our little container lives on top of the frig with a 1/4 tsp measuring spoon right beside it.

In a jar that is a little smaller than a quart I place 1/4 tsp of the mix and about 1/2 – 1 cup of natural fruit juice and fill it the rest of the way with water.  This is less sugar than many recipes indicate, but hey if you need carb replacing… eat a piece of fruit, or some other food rather than just adding more sugar to the drink.

It doesn’t stay full for long

You can experiment a bit, but unless you are running marathons or seriously training and sweating, you probably don’t need a whole lot of electrolyte replacing.

If you take blood thinners or diuretics, please consult your doctor before taking any potassium supplements or salts.

So off we’ll go to my son’s first real Little League game on Saturday with homemade gatorade that will be on the purplish side due to blueberry/pomegranate juice.  Purple is cool in a sports drink, right ;-)?

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23 responses

  1. I will just add that when your athlete kid goes to college they WILL choose Gatorade as that’s what colleges provide for matches and games, so parents, take Big Sis’ advice and get all the healthy sports drinks in your kids now while you are in control. And Gatorade and their ilk are what’s causing enamel loss on teeth like dentists have never seen. Once enamel is gone, it’s gone. – Kaye

    • Sounds like the voice of experience speaking. It’s crazy, the organized attack on health. Almost makes you wonder if there is some syndicate who gets a piece of all the health care bills who produce and advertise all the crap that passes for food and drink. Sheesh!

    • To inject a note of hope, though…people raised on healthy food and drink will have an easier time going back to it in their adult lives, because it tastes “normal” to us. My mom was a super-healthy cook until I was in elementary school, then began allowing some convenience foods as she got more busy working. When I went to college, I started drinking soda pop every day just because I could! But by my mid-20s I was headed back toward healthy eating again. My only sibling did much the same thing.

      • That is so good to hear! Definitely a note of hope. Gotta expect a bit of rebellion and exploration, don’t you? Thanks for sharing :-)

  2. Nice post, what a great idea! Have you thought of using just plain coconut water? It has potassium, sodium, and sugar. Coconut water is similar in composition to blood plasma and was even transfused to soldiers during the World War II when blood was not available! That would be even simpler – nothing to be mixed.

    • I have heard some of these interesting things about coconut water – not that it was transfused, though – how cool. Unfortunately, it is very expensive. This is my cheap alternative :-)

  3. Believe it or not, I remember something about pickle juice (the brine jarred pickles come in) as being great to reduce cramping problems when training. Another natural remedy a Kiwi friend swears by for re-hydration is home made barley water, but I don’t know the recipe. Your recipe is definitely simple and quick.

  4. I stopped drinking gatorade during races a couple of years ago since it always gave me runner’s upset gut! Glad, cause it’s pretty gross stuff!

    I started using clif shots instead which have a reasonable ingredient label. I wonder what your version would do to me?

  5. Love the homemade sports drink! So simple I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. I hate giving my kids Gatorade or any other brand. Will try it this week for my daughter who is playing volleyball. Thanks!

  6. Great recipe! I’m all about natural ways to get your electrolytes and don’t think high sugar options like Gatorade should be what people turn to. I love coconut water myself but I have thought about making my own, so this recipe could be in my near future:) thanks!

    • You are very welcome. Now if we could just get a famous athlete to promote homemade, low-sugar electrolyte drinks!! :-) You never know. It could happen!

  7. Pingback: Replace Those Unhealthy “Health” Foods | my sister's pantry

  8. My doctor actually advised me NOT to drink Gatorade when I was pregnant and dizzy due to low blood pressure and poor hydration from nausea. He said there’s too much crap in it (that was his official medical term, “crap”) and it’s better to just drink water or juice with salt.

    Here’s my recipe for homemade sports drink, with some info on the different types of salt one can use.

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