If you’re the working parent of school age kids, then there’s a good chance you have them in some kind of Summer camp. My son is in Summer camp. It’s good for him to be outdoors most of the day instead of here in the house on his iPad. But being outdoors all day means he’s sweating up a storm and needs to replenish his energy and electrolytes by early afternoon. He wants Gatorade or Powerade, of course. And of course, I just can’t stand the thought of buying either as they’re loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and even vegetable oil. A GMO nightmare! I went to the local health food store to see if I could find a natural powdered form that he could just put in his water. I found a couple but wasn’t impressed with the ingredients. They contained ascorbic acid (synthetic vitamin C), and still had sugar, although it was cane sugar so non-GMO. Unfortunately, they all tasted terrible. There was no way my son was going to take them. I So, I went back to the drawing board in search of the perfect homemade Gatorade recipe. After scouring the internet for some healthy sports drink recipes, I came up with three recipes that are kid-tested and mom approved.
Choosing Homemade Sports Drink Ingredients
Coconut water, AKA nature’s sports drink, can be substituted for all or part of the water in the following sport drink recipes. Doing so adds five essential electrolytes: calcium, phosphorous, sodium, magnesium and potassium. Make sure to use an unsweetened, all natural one or you could be adding chemicals and GMO’s.
We used three different kinds of sugar-free sweeteners – honey, erythritol, and maple syrup. See which sweetener your family likes best and go with that. You will probably need to adjust the sweetness per your family’s desires. My kids thought all three recipes needed more sweetening. I thought the maple syrup added too much flavor to add more than the 2 Tbs, so I added a few drops of liquid stevia to each bottle for them. Our favorite sweetener was the erythritol because it didn’t add any flavor. you could also use Stevia, but as they are all different degrees of sweetness, use your package’s directions to figure out how much to use.
For the Berry Red sports drink, you can use any red herbal tea. We also tried it with Hibiscus Tea and Pomegranate White Tea (has a small amount of caffeine), as well as the raspberry tea.
We use sea salt instead of table salt for a few reasons. Table salt is heat manufactured, through which many of the nutrients in the original salt are destroyed and chemicals are added. Sea salt, or real salt, has many trace minerals that haven’t been stripped out due to processing. These are the necessary electrolytes to make this a sports drink. Many people believe Himalayan sea salt is the purest salt on the planet, and the most nutritious with all 84 elements found in the human body. Make sure to always use a real sea salt in this and all healthy recipes.
Now having gone through all the work of hand squeezing the lemons, limes and oranges to be SuperMom, I realized there was an easier and faster way to make any 100% juice into a healthy sports drink. The key components are natural carbohydrates and trace minerals. We get these from the fruit juice and the sea salt. So, I can take 1 cup of my son’s favorite 100% cherry juice (which is very sweet naturally), add one cup of filtered water, and then add 1/8 tsp sea salt. Voila! Now we have a quick, healthy electrolyte drink he is sure to like.
3 Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drink Recipes
Citrus Sports Drink
4 cups filtered water
3/4 C fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 C fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbs maple syrup
Sour Lime Electrolyte Drink
4 C filtered water
1/2 C fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbs raw honey (use Manuka honey for added health benefits and more electrolytes)
Berry Red Super Hydrator
4 C unsweetened red raspberry herbal iced tea
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbs erythritol (a sweetener with 0 on glycemic index)
For each of the three homemade electrolyte sports drink recipes, thoroughly combine all ingredients. Adjust sweetener and refrigerate. Large batches will last in the fridge for at least a week.