Homemade Gatorade {All-Natural Sports Drink with Electrolytes}

Homemade Gatorade is an all-natural sports drink with electrolytes to hydrate and replenish...with no processed ingredients, artificial sweeteners, or food dye!

Homemade, All-Natural Sports Drink {Gatorade Copycat Recipe} with text overlay.


 

The long hot summer is not quite over yet, and fall sports season 'tis upon us! That means it's the perfect time to share this homemade alternative to store-bought sports drinks.

Most of the time, I think that water is totally sufficient and the best choice for staying hydrated. But sometimes it's really hot...and the exertion is really extreme...and the sweat is pouring out in buckets. And that's when the kids start begging for Gatorade or an alternative sports drink and I feel bad saying no. Or a poor little one is sick and hardly able to keep anything down and becoming dehydrated, so replacing electrolytes is important.

Glass pitcher of homemade Gatorade.

But you wanna know the truth? I really dislike Gatorade. I read the label on the back of the bottle and it makes me cringe. Fake sweeteners, undisclosed flavoring, and artificial food dye. Are those icky things really worth the boost of electrolytes?

Over the summer, I was excited to find a new commercial sports drink with better ingredients...water, a bit of coconut water, cane sugar instead of fake sugar, "natural flavoring," and various vitamins and electrolytes. Definitely an improvement, but still not ideal. I would have liked to see a natural sweetener instead of sugar, and real fruit juice instead of flavoring. And that's when I had a light bulb moment that heyyyyy...maybe I could make my own sports drink at home!

A quick Google search revealed that I am clearly behind the times here. There are recipes aplenty for making a homemade sports drink with natural ingredients. So I started reading lots of different articles and doing research on what an electrolyte-replacing drink should include, and I started experimenting with my own combinations of ingredients.

Homemade Gatorade with ice in a glass.

Disclaimer

Here is where I insert the disclaimer that I am not a doctor! If you are watching your sodium intake for any reason, you should consult your physician before consuming a drink containing extra salt. I am not here to tell you when a sports drink is appropriate for you or how much to drink. I am simply here to share a natural recipe that I am comfortable serving my family when I feel like replacing electrolytes is important based on extreme exertion or illness. Basically, if you already buy and consume Gatorade or a comparable sports drink, this version serves the same purpose while being healthier. 😉

Ingredients

So here's the formula for my Homemade, All-Natural Sports Drink with Electrolytes:

  • 100% Real Fruit Juice. Pick your favorite flavor here. Today I chose "fruit punch" that's a combo of pomegranate, cherry, grape, aroniaberry (huh?), black carrot, & blueberry. Make sure the ingredient list on the back of the bottle includes real fruit juice plus water with no added sugar, but keep in mind that the juice is going to be pretty diluted within the sports drink...so the final results may be more enjoyable if the juice you choose is sweeter than it is tart. But ultimately, it's up to you and your tastebuds!
  • Coconut Water. I have to reluctantly admit that I don't care for coconut water on its own. I wish I did, because I know it's good for you (and I adore most things coconut), but coconut water just doesn't float my boat. That being said, it's a natural way to replenish electrolytes and it's full of potassium and magnesium. However, since it's low in sodium and carbs, the next couple of ingredients are important to this recipe as well.
Aerial view of pitcher and glasses.
  • RealSalt. Yes, I'm giving you a specific brand here, and I can't recommend it highly enough. I buy RealSalt at my regular grocery store and use it in all of my cooking and baking, as well as in our family's shaker of table salt. It is unrefined and full of natural minerals. And because of that, it is the perfect addition to this homemade sports drink (though, if you prefer, another brand of sea salt may be used in place of my beloved RealSalt).
  • Honey. Most store-bought sports drinks contain a processed form of sugar to provide energy and to add (quite a bit of) sweetness. Honey contains natural sugar and it sweetens beautifully.
  • Lemon or Lime Juice. This is optional, but I like adding just a few teaspoons of fresh lemon or lime juice to my homemade sports drink, depending on which one better complements the flavor of the fruit juice I choose. I think the citrus adds a slight zing and nicely masks any subtle saltiness, but again, you may leave it out if you feel so inclined. If you wish to use bottled lemon or lime juice, just check the label first...you don't want to add processed junk to your All-Natural Sports Drink without realizing it! I keep bottles of organic 100% lemon and lime juices in my fridge for convenience sake (I find it at Whole Foods) when I'm out of lemons and limes.
  • Water. Because, hydration.

And that's all, folks!

Close-up of glass with ice.

How to Make Homemade Gatorade

Just mix everything up and adjust any ingredients to taste.

This drink is not going to be as sweet as commercially produced sports drinks, so feel free to add an extra cup of fruit juice or an additional tablespoon of honey if that helps you and/or your family acclimate to this all-natural alternative.

And remember to experiment with your fruit juice flavors! Your crew may find that they have a favorite.

Pitcher of Homemade Gatorade with glasses in background.

So in a couple of weeks, when my boys ask if they can take Gatorade to their flag football games, I'm going to sweetly smile and say, "Sure thing, sweetheart!" And then I'm going to fill their water bottles with my Homemade, All-Natural Sports Drink and feel pleased as punch when their tongues don't turn neon blue. 😉

More Refreshing Drinks

Three glasses of Homemade Gatorade with ice.

Homemade, All-Natural Sports Drink with Electrolytes {Copycat Gatorade}

Quench your thirst, hydrate your body, and replenish electrolytes with this easy-to-make Homemade, All-Natural Sports Drink...without the processed ingredients, artificial sweeteners, and food dye found in store-bought Gatorade!
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 (8-ounce) servings (2 quarts total)
Calories: 48kcal
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Ingredients

  • 3 cups 100% pure coconut water
  • 1 cup 100% fruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, such as RealSalt
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice, optional

Instructions

  • In a 2-quart pitcher, combine the coconut water and fruit juice. Stir in the honey and sea salt until completely dissolved. Stir in the water and add the lemon or lime juice, to taste, if desired. Serve chilled.

Video

Notes

  • This homemade sport drink has a mild fruit flavor, and it is not as sweet as Gatorade or other store-bought sports drinks. If you prefer a sweeter drink, you may adjust the sweetness to taste (after combining all of the ingredients) by gradually stirring in additional fruit juice (up to 1 cup) and/or honey (up to 1 tablespoon) until the flavor is to your liking.
  • To wean my kids off of overly-sweet store-bought sports drinks, I started out making this recipe on the sweeter side (I doubled the fruit juice and added extra honey). Then I added slightly less fruit juice and honey each subsequent time I made it until I was eventually at the proportions called for in this recipe.
  • If you'd like to keep a smaller pitcher or container in the fridge, you may mix together all of the ingredients except the water. Then when you're ready to serve, fill a glass halfway with the homemade sports drink "concentrate," and then fill the remaining half of the glass with cold water.

Nutrition

Calories: 48kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 256mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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Recipe Rating




52 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      To ease calculations, energy is expressed in 1000-calorie units known as kilocalories. That is, 1 Calorie is equivalent to 1 kilocalorie; the capital C in Calories denotes kcal on food labels, calories and kilocalories are used interchangeably to mean the same thing.

  1. 5 stars
    I made this for myself while getting over food poisoning, and it was a life saver. I used apple juice and omitted the citric juice. I felt so much better after drinking it! Perfect amount of salty and sweet.

      1. I'm not able to calculate cost per serving since prices of ingredients vary by location and constantly change.

    1. 5 stars
      It's 4am in the morning and I just made this!
      My family and I are just getting over the stomach bug.
      I'm nursing my little one still and could feel myself quickly getting dehydrated. I drank a small glass of this and it's absolutely delicious! I'll be making it all summer long. Thank GOD I had all the ingredients on hand and also don't have to go to the store to get Gatorade or Pedialyte!!

  2. I can't drink only water when going on a walk or hike in nature because I get dehydrated and tired of those feel like chemicals drinks so I will try your recipe and will tell you more after it 🙂
    Thanks

          1. Hi Mikayla! I would pay attention to the "best used by" date on your coconut water, but I've kept this mixture in the fridge for up to a week with no problems.

    1. This sounds like a great alternative to Gatorade which I'm trying to avoid. Just curious what servings you might suggest for a hot yoga practitioner and teacher who is known to lose up to 8 pounds of water in one 90 minute class, have major muscle cramping, dehydration and very low sodium levels?
      Thanks so much!
      Artie

  3. Cane sugar IS natural. There's demerara sugar/sugar in the raw that is less refined, and you can also get organic sugar. But cane sugar is a natural sweetener. Honey and agave have more calories, and agave has more fructose which is more difficult for the liver to process. Sugar no matter the source isn't that good for you. But cane sugar shouldn't be vilified either.

    1. I understand what you're saying. Rather than using the phrase "natural," perhaps I should have clarified that I was going for a sweetener that's "less processed and less refined." Either way, my ultimate goal with this recipe was to provide an alternative to the popular commercial sports drinks that rely on high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. 🙂

  4. Hi,
    Is it ok if we mix ingredients except the water and put in the ice-tray. Take 1 or 2 cubes and mix with water when needed?

  5. Love this simple and quick recipe to replace our usual sports drink!

    >>What do you suggest for a "best used by" date to be for a basic coconut water + fruit juice + a little salt concentrate??

    (We mix in the other ingredients upon serving individual drinks).

    1. Hi Junie! So happy your family enjoys this recipe! I've kept this "concentrate" in the fridge for about a week. I'd probably take into consideration the "use within X days of opening" recommendation on the carton of coconut water that you use. 🙂

  6. Thanks for the recipe! I am going to try water, No Salt, with lime juice and stevia. I can't have all that sugar. A Low carb version if you will. Thank you for all of your hard work and researching.