Homemade Gatorade is an all-natural sports drink with electrolytes to hydrate and replenish…with no processed ingredients, artificial sweeteners, or food dye!
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.
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.
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. 😉
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.
*RealSalt (*affiliate link) ~ 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! 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.
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…