The baseball game was over and my hot, sweaty son ran over to the well-intentioned snacks. He pleaded with me with his big, brown eyes. “Please mom, can I have the Gatorade?”
Here are my choices in that moment:
- Be THAT mom and disappoint my thirsty son while everyone else sips happily away.
- Let him have the sugary drink filled with artificial colors.
- Be prepared and have a healthy homemade sports electrolyte drink ready to swap.
Ok, I admit, I’ve done all 3. However, now I am prepared and we are all happy with the last option.
What are Electrolytes and why do we need a homemade electrolyte drink?
Electrolytes are naturally occurring substances in your body that perform many functions such as regulating your heartbeat and allowing your lungs to breathe. The major electrolytes are potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and phosphate.
In our bodies, electrolytes dissolve into positive and negative charges. These charges spark nerve impulses and regulate the flow of water in and out of the cell.
You naturally get electrolytes through your diet. You lose electrolytes through sweating and urinating or when you’re sick and vomiting or have diarrhea.
Most people who moderately exercise get enough electrolytes through diet and will be fine just drinking water. If you are in extreme heat, or training hard or lose electrolytes from being sick, you can benefit from a drink for electrolyte replacement.
Why not typical sports electrolyte drinks?
Typical sports electrolyte drinks have many ingredients that aren’t good for us, including lots of sugar, artificial colors, and natural flavors.
What about Organic Gatorade? Organic Gatorade still has a lot of sugar. It also contains organic natural flavor (see the link above for why to avoid this), citric acid (which I use in my bath bombs to make them fizzy), and sea salt (for electrolytes).
There are better options, which we’ll get to in a minute, that don’t contain questionable ingredients.
The electrolyte drinks for dehydration and diarrhea that the doctors typically recommend for sick kiddos, i.e. Pedialyte, are also full of artificial colors and sugar.
What is the best way to replenish electrolytes?
With the following homemade electrolyte drinks:
Coconut water is nature’s best electrolyte drink. It contains five different electrolytes. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. Coconut water also contains amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. It is low in sugar compared to the juice of other fruits. It is also rich in plant hormones which have an anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-thrombolytic effect. And last but not least, it is alkalizing which can help balance acidic foods you eat.
According to this study, coconut water was as effective at replenishing electrolytes as sports drinks making it the best hydration drink, and best post workout drink.
Another amazing fact about coconut water is that it is so similar to human blood plasma that it has been used intravenously for more than 60 years, often in remote parts of the world, and saved many lives!
While I don’t mind the taste of coconut water, my kids don’t care for it. So I added half 100% juice, and 1/2 coconut water and they drank that right up.
This is a “homemade Gatorade.” Switchel has been around for over 100 years. Using blackstrap molasses adds extra nutrients and iron, however my kids like it better with the honey.
Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.
To serve, strain out ginger and pour over ice in a glass.
This is also great with soda water. Just add soda water to your glass when serving or omit some of the water in original recipe and add soda water when you serve it.
3. Sole-(pronounced “so-lay”)
Just a teaspoon of this in your water gives your body electrolytes, improves hydration, and helps balance acid-alkaline imbalances in your body.
This “salt water” is super easy to make and inexpensive. Check out the recipe here.
4. Cell Salts
Bioplasma Cell salts “stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms to satisfy mineral imbalances.” Cell salts are homeopathic remedies and are safe for everyone 2 years old and older and will not react with other medications.
In the case of dehydration, dissolve 5 pills per quart of water. My kids don’t even notice that they are in there, they say it tastes just like water.
I bring these with when we travel. They are great after dehydration from sun, exercise, or illness.
Just being prepared is half the battle.
So on your next trip bring the Bioplasma cell salts with you in case that day at the beach was too much after being holed up all winter.
And for your next sports game, mix up some Switchel or coconut water and juice ahead of time so your kiddos don’t feel deprived.
After a few times of explaining to your kiddos that the Gatorade is more harmful to them than helpful, they will understand.
Which of these electrolyte drinks are you most likely to try first? Let me know in the comments below.
Hello there! I’m Rebecca. I’m a boy mom, self-help junkie, and health blogger at www.rebeccalevander.com from the suburbs with big dreams. Confused by everything you read about healthy living? I love to simplify it for you and share with you all my tips and tricks to living a healthy lifestyle, simply. Get a FREE lesson on cleaning out the toxins from your laundry room.