Natural Electrolyte Sports Drink Recipe

How to make healthy probiotic water kefir natural soda

If you, or your kids enjoy any kind of sports or athletic events, there is certainly a time when water alone just doesn’t quite cut it.

Even water with lemon or lime gets boring after a while, and when you need to rehydrate, you often need added electrolytes.

Before you stop by the store for a Gatorade on the way to the game, try making your own natural version! It is easy, just as fast, and a lot healthier.

GatoradeFacts 300x212Regular Gatorade contains: Water, sucrose syrup, glucose-fructose syrup, citric acid, natural grape flavor with other natural flavors, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, red 40, Blue 1. (This is from a picture of the grape flavored Gatorade label).

I’m all for re-hydrating, but are the monopotassium phosphate, mystery “natural flavors” and artificial dyes really necessary?

Around here, for times when more than just water is needed for hydration (softball games, triathlons, labor, etc.), we make our own version, which I prefer… never much liked Gatorade or Powerade myself anyway.

The easiest sports drink that is nutritionally amazing (they even used this stuff for plasma infusions during the pacific war) is plain coconut water or coconut water with a TBSP of added lime juice. Coconut water has more potassium than sports drinks, and more natural sources of sodium. A lot of athletes swear by it these days, and I will be drinking it in labor.

The only downside to coconut water is the price. If you want an inexpensive (and still healthy and tasty) alternative, this versatile recipe is the next best thing…

Homemade Natural Energy and Sports Drink Recipe

5.0 from 7 reviews
Natural Sports Drink Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Homemade sports drink recipe without artificial flavors or ingredients.
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 1
  • 1 quart of liquid (options: green tea, herbal teas, coconut water, plain water, etc)
  • ⅛-1/4 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt (regular table salt will work, but it doesn't have all the trace minerals)
  • ¼ to ½ tsp crushed Calcium magnesium tablets or powder (optional)
  • ¼ cup or more of juice (optional. Can use grape, apple, lemon, lime, pineapple, etc)
  • 1-2 TBSP sweetener (optional)- can use honey, stevia, etc. I suggest brewing stevia leaf into the base liquid for the most natural option.
  1. Brew tea if using or slightly warm base liquid
  2. Add sea salt and calcium magnesium (if using)
  3. Add juice and mix or shake well
  4. Cool and store in fridge until ready to use
[As an example, my normal recipe includes 1 quart of tea (brewed with Red Raspberry Leaf, Alfalfa, Nettle and Stevia), ¼ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp calcium magnesium powder (about 1,000 mg), and ¼ cup grape or apple juice]

Another easy alternative is just mixing Vitamin C powder or Emergen-C with water and a little juice!

Ever drink sports drinks? What’s your favorite?

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Reader Comments

  1. I made this for my daughter today before soccer, I used coconut sap sugar and she said it wasn’t sweet enough so then added a tablespoon of agave(I know you don’t like agave) and that did the trick for her she really liked it.

  2. I lived off coconut water when I was training for half marathons (but was not eating processed foods)  but that was a hefty price tag (I said in lieu of ‘Gu’ it was worth it)… but I had no idea about this cool recipe!  I can’t wait to try it.  And also very excited you give the stamp of approval to Emergen -C  …. ilove that stuff :)

  3. as a medical professional and a herbalist involved in birth and emergency care for the last 2o years  we use a similar blend for teas.  you will find an increased calcium-magnesium with a trace minerals boost by adding a quality mint to your  tea blend- be sure to make an infusion to extract the minerals/vitamins. remember if you are using green tea- it is a diuretic, you will get the benefits of tea along with the increased fluid elimination… 

    • Do distilled hydrosols have the same properties as infusions? Could I distill an infusion to get a more pure product with a longer shelf-life, and use that in place of an infusion for nutritive purposes?

    • Hello, I started taking all yesterday and today I had a headache. I Googled DIY falafel in order to avoid the sugar — and found your recipe. I’m driving it right now worth a base is jasmine and mint tea and passion fruit juice (no sugar added). So yummy! Anyhoo– I’m not supposed to consume much caffeine while taking Adderal. So I’m not sure if the green tea was a good idea. But then I saw the above comment about green tea being a diuretic. If my headaches are due to hydration (and drinking lots of water everyday doesn’t seem to do the trick) is a diuretic a bad idea?either should use herbal teas? Lastly if I take calcium and magen daily already…is it necessary in this “sports drink “?

  4. I’m thinking of using your recipe as a Gatorade substitute for a colonoscopy prep. Gatorade is so gross and artificial. If I use the EmerGenC, how many packets should I use and does this replace all or just some of the ingredients? If not all, which ones?

  5. I use Xylitol powder which has 10% of the calories and glycemic load of sugar and it tastes exactly like sugar. It also has the added benefit of killing all the bad bacteria in your mouth and throat.

    • Xylitol can in fact be extremely bad for your body, even in small doses.
      It causes intestine problems for one, and is deadly to dogs.
      There is so many other natural options to sweeten your drink.

      • Peter Gillams (Natural Vitality) Natural Calm products are not as healthy as once though. Probably for various reasons, but it literally made my children hyper. Looking deeper the verdict as to why is…. CORN. Citric acid that is in it is made from corn. I contacted the company. And that also makes this supplement dangerous for those intolerant or allergic to corn as well as not being Paleo. And Emergen-C has ascorbic acid which is synthetic and not at all healthy and comes from GMO CORN!! It also made my children super hyper! The Healthy Home Economist has an article about Emergen-C and how to get real vitamin C the healthy way. She does mention a few supplements but we all know from whole food is best! Did you know strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges? Get some organic strawberries and take those instead of pills. You can even grow them yourself! They even sell those upside down hangy things to grow them, like the tomatoes.

      • Yes, I agree! Real maple syrup has less fructose than honey if you havr fructose malabsorption issues and makes your children hyper. Sucanat is pretty good and is not overly processed but does take longer to melt,but boiling water helps! Agave is super processed and is no better than high fructose corn syrup. Ew! Both xylitol and erythritol are not healthy. Xylitol is also often made from… CORN!! GMO corn I would bet. Am I against corn? Yes I am! Its kind of a grain, the body doesn’t really process it and my family is intolerant to it. And its not Paleo.

      • I agree to the comment about xyiitol People should research it before making decisions to use it in a drink. Yes it has benefits however like many other products you should precede with knowledge and care. It has dental benefits also but dosage is still important because it can cause indigestion problems

    • Friendly FYI…..xylitol doesn’t kill bacteria, it simply does not feed it. It has also been noted to create a “slippery” surface making it difficult for bacteria to adhere to mouth/sinus/throat cavities.

  6. What are your thoughts about making a Sole mix (water mixed with himalayan sea salt) first and then adding to this drink instead of putting the salt in directly?
    I’ve seen other receipes on line where the Sole approach is taken but I’m curious if its better to go that route or to just put the salt directly into the drink?

  7. I’m glad to find your site, and you are so informative. I’ve question about your mention red raspberry leaf, since I grow them in the garden, can I just pick the leafs from the plants and brew them with my tea from your recipe?
    Thank you!

  8. Was wondering if it was alright to add 1/2 tsp. of vitamin C crystals and 1 rounded tbls. of gelatin powder to your sports drink recipe. Would there be any conflicts?

  9. Instead of calcium magnesium powder would suggest using Terramin (on Amazon) powder instead. It has 57 IONIC minerals that came from millions of years of the Colorado taking parts of the mountains along its 1500 million length, pulverizing them to one micron in size (man can’t do this) and then a geo thermal action under them locked strong negative charge. Many comments on Amazon say big for energy booster. Mineral are absorbed like oxygen as in perfect form. Tetra shape creates huge surface area so like giant freight that hauls out the garbage besides leaving pure nutrition, and being anti bacteria, viral, parasitic, and fungal. Helps heal damage from GMOs, pesticides, toxins, radiation.

  10. Hi Katie , this recipe looks awesome. Can one treat it basically like water in quantity consumed or is there a maximum daily consumption recommended?

  11. Anyone know a brand of Coconut Water in the UK which is pure coconut water with no sugar or sweetners added. So far I’ve not found such a product. Help appreciated.

    • I would just go get a real coconut from an Asian market and get it from there… NOTHING beats coconut juice from a real coconut! Yum!

      I usually pay .75 cents (less than a dollar / buck / $1.00) for a whole coconut! (Not the brown mature ones, but the ones that are hexagon shape from them chopping them that way! Delicious!

    • I don’t know about the UK, but in the US you can buy pure coconut water made by Goya Foods at the market. They also sell a coconut water *drink* which you don’t want.

  12. I’ve been making my own sports drinks for quite some time. Im constantly altering them as I learn new tricks. I use 1/2 tsp liquid minerals (sea harvested), a pinch of magnesium powder (I dissolve it in the tea as its steeping), fresh squeezed lemon juice, honey and herb tea as my water/liquid base (usually green tea, dandelion or hibiscus). all in all it’s still cheaper than coconut milk, I run, mtn bike and horse back ride far too often to use cocnut milk for every adventure- so this concoction works amazingly well and it tastes great! I have friends and family hooked on it too!

  13. The most important ingredient is the salt. Water can’t rehydrate you unless your salt reserves are high enough for the necessary electrolytes.

  14. A lot of these look awesome..except that they contain one or more artificial sweetners (yes stevia is included) my roommate is allergic to all of them, cannot be in the same room with them..and I won’t risk his life over it. Maybe show with and without?

  15. Hi,

    I came across your page when I was looking for a homemade electrolyte solution.

    Thank you for the recipe.

    FYI, there is no such thing as “Himalayan Sea Salt” as the Himalayas are a mountain range.

    I think what you are referring to is Himalayan PINK salt.



  16. Thank you for this post! My wife was pretty sick and we needed something like Gatorade but not poisonous :) I was looking for what I had in the house to make your recipe and realized I could do it with 2 ingredients. We had Strawberry Zevia that can act as the base liquid AND the sweetener since it is a natural soda with Stevia. I mixed 2 12oz cans with 1/4 tsp of Himalayan Sea Salt and it was pretty dang good, my said it seemed to help. I am going to go mic up some Cal-Mag tablets from the coop to keep on hand for the next batch.

  17. I’m surprised that you would recommend using Emergen-C since it contains those mystery natural flavors, and also maltodextrin and aspartic acid (both are neurotoxins).

    • I agree with you Marci! The ingredients look like this:

      [ Fructose, malic acid, citric acid, vegetable juice color, natural mixed berry flavors, maltodextrin, raspberry juice powder, silica, tartaric acid, caramel color, stevia (leaf extract), glycine, aspartic acid, and cysteine hydrochloride. ]

      There’s quite a few ingredients that are a no-no.

  18. I got too much sun yesterday and now I’m suffering dehydration and sun sickness. All I have are calcium magnesium capsules with 1000mg of calcium and 500mg of magnesium each. Can I break them open to use and if so, how many should I use? Thanks so much.

    • I would think it would work, but I haven’t tried and I’m not sure on the taste… but you could just take whatever supplements you need and hydrate a lot with a little salt in your water

  19. My question is about the green tea in this recipe. Can it be affective with decaf green tea or does it have to have caffeine? I ask because I can’t have caffeine. I am an exercise junkie, but I hate the sports drinks that are available. I have been looking for a natural alternative and this sounds great. I can’t wait to try it so a quick response would be appreciated. Thanks, Emily.

  20. I’m planning for upcoming birth of my first :)
    Can I use Natural Calm powder in this? Alternatively can I use magnesium and calcium tablets separately, and crush them? Thanks! Love your site!

  21. i find nothing boost my kids energy more when they are sick then sports drinks. However, I feel horrible giving them the the kids. So I thank you for this. I just made a batch of it for my son who is sick and feverish with Strep. He will probably drink it warm as it will help sooth his throat.

  22. hi . this recipe would work great if i added a larger amount of magnesium citrate for a colon prep. But i dont know how much any ideas? I think the OTC in cvs has 1000mg per glass container. anyone else use the natural calm poweder for a colon prep. the OTC in cvs has saccharin in it bummer.

  23. Thanks much for this. It’s well below zero, we don’t have a car, and hubby is sick. I was not wanting to walk even the short distance to the store to get gatoraide, but he needed something to help fend off dehydration. I used herbal tea (mostly for color), salt, and agave nectar.

  24. Amazing site! I’m an ironman distance triathlete looking for more natural hyrdation and fueling options. Right now I use coconut water for training but it is expensive. Just curious, you wouldn’t get any potassium out of this drink would you? If not what are your thoughts on that? Other than that, sounds like a great alternative!

    • Hey Craig, if you use a little fruit juice you’ll get some potassium. Depending on the juice, maybe as much as 400 mg in a qt.

    • Hey Craig. I’m an amateur triathlete (very amateur!). Have you had chance to try this in training/racing? How did it work out? Hydration, especially on the bike, is my Achilles heel. And water on its own makes me feel terrible by the end of a race.

      • Hey Dom, I tried this but honestly couldn’t stand the taste. I liked in concept, but not in practice (sorry mama, i love everything you do!)

        I stick to NUUN tabs, vega sports hydrator, and coconut water for training. For racing I used a concentrated mix of Hammer Perpetuem and salt tabs. I think they are, in my amateur opinion, among the cleaner ready made options available.

        If you haven’t already done so, check out the Ben Greenfield podcast. Its literally changed my life! The guy is a genius! Has some great stuff on hydration among everything else. Hope its ok to drop that in the forum!

        Good luck!

        • Hi Craig

          Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I’ve made some this afternoon, and honestly I’m not sure I can drink it! I’ll perhaps have another go with a different formula.

          I’ve read a couple of Greenfield’s books, but he’s a little bit too motivated and enthusiastic for my liking.

          I’ll check what he has to say on hydration, though. Thanks for the tips.

  25. My kiddos and I have fast renters, and in need of quality hydration. Plus, who wants to go out? I’m using natural calm, acerola powder for C, celtic grey sea salt, 2 c loose leaf tea and 2c fruit juice. I’ll top it off with water, to fill my 2 qt jar. Fingers crossed, cause I feel like heck! There’s only so much bone broth we can drink!! Thanks Katie!!

  26. Do you know how long this would keep in the fridge? If I made a batch up, could I save it for a few days or a week maybe to have some each day? Also does it need to be stored in a sealed container like your picture, or would a regular pitcher work? Thanks!

  27. Doing this today. Prepping for a colonoscopy. They want me to drink Gatorade and I am sooooo not doing that. Glad I found it!!!!

  28. These look great to try! I live in high altitude where you get dehydrated faster running and biking.
    They are more like Emergen-c than not, but I like nuun tablets to keep in my car and in my bag. You add them to water and they help with electrolytes and no sugar or corn syrup. Not perfect, but quick in a pinch, no added water bottles for the trash/recycling, and less no-no ingredients. (:

  29. I don’t know much about ingredients and what they do for our body. I understand this is supposed to hydrate like a Gatorade does. I’m wondering which of the ingredients you mention does that better than water. I guess what I’m asking is why can’t the kids just drink water and be just as hydrated? Maybe the salt you mention is hydrating? Thanks!

  30. Great recipe, this is also good for when someone is sick, using the coconut water for sickness (no sugars though).

  31. Thanks for the ideas. It is a challenging thing to “reform” what we think about food and nutrition with so much misinformation floating around and the seeming inaccessibility of dependable research and sure knowledge. The answer to the question of monopotassium phosphate is simply that it’s an electrolyte as are the calcium-magnesium tablets and salt. The World Health Organization has some excellent resources and bare-bones recipes for rehydration fluids. I’m pretty sure they’ll be rather bland, though! The USP grades of electrolyte salts (undissolved calcium, magnesium, sodium, citrate, etc. salts) are precisely made, and tested, to have zero humanly harmful content. USP means that they are suitable for compounding in medicines.

  32. Have you ever heard or tried Ultima? My fiancé is a tennis pro and holistic lifestyle coach and he has been using Ultima for years as his post workout drink to replenish his body with the proper minerals and electrolytes. It’s tastes really good!

  33. Hey there! I tried this and LOVED it! I used rooibos tea, lemons and maple syrup.
    QUESTION: Can I post this recipe and link to your page on my facebook via a note?


    • Sure! I don’t allow full content to be republished elsewhere, but feel free to quote from any of my articles and link back to the original source, on your own site or social media. Thanks for reading!

  34. Hello, Great recipe! Quick question.

    If I use Coconut water only instead of the fruit juice should I still add the sea salt for the minerals? I ask because of the sodium in the coconut water, which doesn’t worry me, but I’m curious. :)


  35. Thanks for the tips. Just wanted to mention that xylitol is an excellent sugar substitute that is natural. Made from plants. It has 60% of calories of sugar, very little glycemic reaction meaning good for diabetics. Our bodies have an enzyme to break down and use it as it’s in nature and foods we eat. It’s a sugar alcohol, kills bacteria in mouth prevents tooth decay. It can harm pets, they don’t have enzyme. Like sugar water, too much can cause intestinal distress. Use a little, get used to it and use a little more. Amounts like for making lemonade are too much. In any case it is healthy and safe for diabetics.
    There are a lot of cal mag pills on the market all work fine.
    Maybe not an exact electrolyte replacer, Schwitzel is good for drinking during hot weather. Used to be made and drank during haying. Water a little cider vinegar a little ginger and honey. Ginger goes a long ways, can add a little sea salt if you want

    • Charles, it’s kind of a stretch to say that Xylitol is natural. This “stuff” called Xylitol is extracted from hardwoods, hydrolyzed and then catalytically hydrogenated.

  36. When discussing this drink with my doctor she said everything was fine except the magnesium as that is what they give pre-term moms to stall labor.

  37. This drink is great! I’ve been on super restricted diet due to some dietary issues, but I am distance runner that needs to supplement as a I run. With this new diet I can’t use my old go-to Nuun tablets. I made this drink with plain water, and the juice of lemons and limes and it came out awesome. Not only did it taste good but it served as an effective supplement during my run. Thanks so much for this!

  38. Not a sports drink, but once after a (rare) night of over-indulgence I resisted the urge of the chemical sports drink in my fridge and instead mixed together raw honey and fresh squeezed lime juice in water. It really helped. Next time I’d try adding a little of the Himalayan sea salt. Um, not that I’ll ever need it again! 😛

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