Homemade Gatorade: Sports Drinks on the Cheap

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Sports drinks are pricey — even if you catch a sweet deal.

If you need refreshment and a boost of electrolytes, you can make it cheaply yourself. Re-creating flavors like Frost Glacier Freeze or Xtremo Tropical Intenso may be a tad challenging, but get creative with your flavorings and you might mix up something that tastes even better.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am ironically sipping on a Propel Zero Sport as I type this. I dropped two bucks on the bottle — on sale. At least one of the following recipes would have only cost me about 10 cents for a similar orange-flavored drink.

Depending on the recipe you choose, the DIY beverages can also contain much less sugar and sweeteners. The base for all of the homemade mixtures is water but the ingredients vary from there.

One of the simplest recipes calls for items you probably already have handy. Runners Feed‘s recipe for homemade Gatorade has close to the same nutritional profile as the much more costly commercial drink. It has about 60 calories per 8-ounce serving and about 110 milligrams of sodium.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup orange juice (not from concentrate)
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 cups cold water

 The directions are simple and the whole process should take less than five minutes.

  • Put the salt and sugar in the bottom of a pitcher and cover with hot water to dissolve.
  • Add the juices and cold water.
  • Chill in the refrigerator.
  • Voila, homemade Gatorade.

Another recipe is featured by Wellness Mama. This one gives you the option to substitute the water with herbal tea or coconut water. The main ingredients you need are a quart of slightly warmed liquid and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Wellness Mama suggests the use of Himalayan sea salt because it has more trace minerals than regular table salt.

Everything else is optional in this recipe: Add 1/4 cup of juice (lemon, lime, grape, apple, pineapple, etc.) if you like. Prefer a sweeter drink? Add a tablespoon or two of sweetener such as honey or stevia.

Mix your chosen ingredients and store the drink in the fridge.

If you’d prefer a powder mix, the Los Angeles Times suggests this recipe. It costs about 10 cents per 24-ounce bottle.

The ingredient list includes maltodextrin, a complex carbohydrate derived from corn. It can be found at vitamin and supplement stores or online at places like Amazon. Here’s one option for 8 pounds of the powder for $23 or 18 cents per ounce.

  • 900 grams of maltodextrin powder
  • 80 grams of sugar
  • 5 grams of salt. This recipe calls for Morton Lite Salt due to its additional potassium.

It also suggests using a digital scale for accurate measurements.

Add a packet or two of Kool-Aid for added flavor. “If you like, you can just leave out the Kool-Aid for a more neutral taste. Don’t expect the mixture to taste like a commercial sports drink, which typically has much more sugar added,” says the Times.

This will make about 2.2 pounds of drink powder — enough for 17 drinks. Combine two 29-gram scoops of the powder with 24 ounces of water. Each serving has about 200 calories.

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Comments & discussion

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  • John Lyle Zortman

    Better yet, a fellow pharmacist and I use Emergen-C 5 calorie packets. It contains all the B-vitamins, minerals and electrolytes with hardly any calories, especially from refined sugar. For about 30 cents, you can make 1/2 gallon of a very good hydration solution.