Homemade Gatorade Recipe | Plus 5 Real Food Ways to Hydrate and Replace Electrolytes

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This summer is hotter than any I can remember. Let me rephrase that…this summer is more humid than any I can remember. (Last summer would take the “hot” reward with 115 degree heat, but it was dry heat which really does make a difference.) Humidity zaps your energy faster than just the heat and this year I’m really feeling it so I thought I would share with you my favorite ways to hydrate and get electrolytes including my Homemade Gatorade Recipe with all natural ingredients.

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals that help your body retain the water so I can certainly see why they would be necessary for excessive perspiration, low humidity conditions, dehydration from sickness or very hot days. The fact is most people who drink these use them as a substitute for water any time during the day, not realizing they are full of sugar and way more sodium than is needed.

When you are in one of the scenarios above, the minerals in electrolytes include sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium along with a few other players are vital. You can get these minerals in real food:

  • Sodium - celery and salt (sea salt is the best source since it is not processed and has other trace minerals)

  • Potassium - dried fruit and nuts

  • Magnesium - nuts and leafy greens

  • Calcium - yogurt, fish and beans

However, many times when you really need electrolytes you can't or don't want to eat. Plus you would have to eat a pretty big meal to get adequate amounts of all these minerals at once. Having a drink that provides the sodium, carbohydrates and electrolytes to help your body re-hydrate is certainly helpful; the artificial colors, chemicals (flame retardant?) and ingredients like high fructose corn syrup in bottled drinks are not.

Homemade Gatorade Recipe to the Rescue

Like many young boys, my youngest son has wanted to be a professional baseball player since he was old enough to talk. Now, at 16, he is a 6’ 3” almost 200 pound giant who still eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. Though I fought the whole tournament sports/busy summer thing when he was younger, we are now at the age that in order for him to go the next level, he has to play tournament ball.

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With him working out everyday in this heat along with playing in 4 day tournaments, I quickly realized we needed a real food answer to electrolyte replacement drink. There is great pressure from the sports industry to drink electrolyte drinks and I have had to commit to my own personal campaign of no Gatorade/PowerAde/Vitamin Water. The dugout each week is full of empty bottles of these drinks and it blows my mind that so many people don’t know that they are nothing more than chemicals and water, certainly not real food at all and can be harmful to our bodies.

Real Food Ways to Hydrate

While Gatorade and other sports drinks are the go-to (and I will share my homemade version below,) there are many other ways to hydrate when it is super hot and humid outside.

  1. Coconut Water - Coconut water (from young coconuts, not to be confused with coconut milk from mature coconuts) is plentiful and so full of electrolytes that it is used in remote locations as an intravenous re-hydration fluid especially when illness has caused dehydration through diarrhea. Make sure to look for varieties that have no added sugar. Try pineapple coconut water for the best no-sugar-added sweet version if you don’t like the unique flavor the natural version offers. It can be an acquired taste and many kids (and adults) may prefer something that has a little more tang to it that is similar to what they would get in a manufactured electrolyte drink. (See recipe below for my homemade healthy version.)

  2. Watermelon - Made up of 92% water, ice cold watermelon not only provides a great snack but also one of nature’s greatest forms of hydration. Sprinkle with a little pink Himalayan sea salt to bump the natural sodium factor (see Electrolytes section below).

  3. Cucumber Tomato Salad - Like watermelon, most summer fruits (yes these are both fruits) are naturally high in water and these two are no different. Since we treat them like veggies, though they are a great way to get lots of water when we are looking for a more savory way to hydrate. Toss together with a big drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar and a big sprinkle of sea salt and pepper and you have a hydrating meal that won’t weigh you down and will give you energy from re-hydration. (A little feta or fresh Mozzarella will give you a little protein if you need it.)

  4. Juices - This seems an obvious hydration choice, but in order to not get into high sugar territory, stick to veggie centric juices. Those with cucumbers and celery will have natural sodium which your body needs when you sweat a lot. Some good choices would be a typical green juice, cucumber-green apple-ginger, or tomato-lemon-cucumber-celery.

  5. Whole Oranges - While chugging orange juice sounds good and refreshing, the lack of fiber causes our bodies to react as if we ate a candy bar when we drink fruit juice. We get a quick hit of sugar (AKA energy from carbs) and then the downer of low sugar. Eat a whole orange and you still get the sweet hydration along with the fiber to slow down the sugar hit.

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Homemade Electolyte Drink

Like most things you can buy in a bottle, box or can, you can make your own electrolyte replenishing drink very easily.  With fruit juice, Himalayan sea salt, and honey as the main ingredients, there is only one non-typical ingredient you will need to make it - Trace Minerals. You can easily pick these up at any health food store, Sprouts, or even on Amazon. Here is the brand I use*.

You can use any fruit juice (orange juice without pulp or mixed juices are good) or a fruity unsweetened iced tea such as raspberry hibuscus or citrus flavored tea as the base. However, I was looking at the ingredients in my always present bottle of Ningxia Red, a high caliber juice blend from the Young Living essential oil company, and discovered each of the mineral categories above were represented except for sodium, and this juice fell higher on the charts than the foods he would have to eat to get those same minerals. I chose to use a couple of ounces (it’s very concentrated) of that as the base, but you can certainly use any other liquid. I am sharing two different versions…one with regular fruit juice or tea as a base and one with Ningxia Red.

Homemade Gatorade with Options

1 1/4 cup 100% fruit juice blend or concentrated unsweetened fruit tea (berry or citrus flavors are best)

2 1/2 cups water

2 tbsp lime or lemon juice

2-4 tbsp honey or maple syrup (Go with the higher amount if you’re using tea instead of juice)

1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt or other pure sea salt

10 drops Trace Minerals


Ningxia Red Cooler (AKA Homemade Red Gatorade)

For my Young Living Comrades that want to use Ningxia Red as the base.

2 oz Ningxia Red

1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Sea Salt (any sea salt with minerals intact)

juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tbsp)

juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tbsp)

2 tbsp honey

1 drop Young Living lemon or lime oil

1 drop Young Living orange oil

water to make up a pint

Mix this well. Store for a few days in a glass jar or bottle. (Essential oils and plastic do not get along.)

*As an Amazon Affiliate, I do receive the tiniest of commissions when you buy something I link to in Amazon but it doesn’t change your price at all.

**If you want to reap the benefits of Ningxia Red, but currently have no where to buy it, I can help. Go to this page to find out more about the Young Living company, how you can get products at a deep discount (without selling anything) and how to get started using oils as part of a healthy lifestyle.