Better Than Gatorade: Homemade Sports Drink Alternatives
Dyes, sugar syrups and artificial flavorings – oh my! Along with the obligatory addition of sodium and potassium (electrolytes), this is what makes up your average sports drink. Don’t forget that these drinks often contain way more sugar per serving than you could ever need to refuel. Now don’t get me wrong, electrolytes and additional calories are extremely beneficial to athletic performance during sustained activity. When the activity lasts longer than 60 minutes, electrolytes and calories are practically required to give a quick boost in energy and prevent dehydration. But there are better, more natural (and not to mention more cost effective) ways to get these things. You will also find that you are able to experience a lot more personalized flavor variety when you make your own sports drinks.
In order for your homemade sports drink to be effective, it must contain three things: water, electrolytes (mostly salt), and carbohydrates. However, getting the right amounts of these three things is hardly a science. In fact, it is extremely easy and only takes a shake of salt, a teaspoon or two of sugar, and some water. Why rely on expensive sports drinks when you can make your own in just a couple of minutes? That’s way less time than it even takes to drive to the store and back!
Designing Your Own
- Start with a liquid base. This will make up the bulk of your drink. You can either use plain water, unsweetened coconut water, or unsweetened green or fruit tea.
- Add your electrolytes. The term “electrolytes” is essentially just a fancy word for “salts”, and all it takes is a little bit! Add a dash of regular table salt per each 8 ounces of fluid
- Pick your carbohydrate. Add a drizzle of honey, a teaspoon of sugar or a splash of natural fruit juice to your drink
- Additional flavorings. Feel free to squeeze in some fresh lemon, lime or citrus juice for added flavors.
Get creative! There are endless options for creating a sports drink that will be just as effective as any of the big brands – but much healthier, cost effective and all your own. J
The Quick Mix Sports Drink
Probably the easiest sports drink you could make! Fill your water bottle half way full with a fruit juice of your choice (stick to all natural fruit juice), fill the other half with water, add a pinch of sea salt and shake.
The Green Coconut (makes 32 ounces)
Combine 3.5 cups of unsweetened coconut water, 1/2 cup chilled green tea, 3 tablespoons of honey and ¼ teaspoon salt in a jug. Mix until salt and honey have dissolved. Drink chilled.
Homemade Citrus Gatorade (makes 32 ounces)
Combine 3.5 cups water with ½ cup orange juice, 2.5 tablespoons sugar, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a squeeze of lemon in a jug. Mix until salt and sugar have dissolved. Drink chilled.
Guest Blog provided by Nicole Botti.