Head to the sports-drink aisle at your grocery store and you’ll be bombarded by rows upon rows of plastic bottles filled with liquids in neon colors, overwhelming ingredient lists, and flavors that are better known by their color than their actual taste.
But it turns out, an electrolyte drink doesn’t have to be complicated (or bright blue) to do what it’s intended for: replenish fluids and electrolytes lost during intense exercise.
During development for our cookbook, Everyday Athlete, we happily discovered that you can make flavorful homemade Gatorade recipes with just four ingredients—and you likely already have two on hand.
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You may think that water is your best bet for hydration, but sports drinks (such as Gatorade) are doing a lot more heavy lifting hydration-wise. When exercising, you need more than just water.
What's in Gatorade, Anyway?
Not just Gatorade, but the essential components of any sports drink are pretty simple. You need just three things.
- Water for hydration.
- Sodium to replenish electrolytes. (Other electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium are lost in much smaller amounts and are generally best obtained through a healthy diet.)
- Carbohydrates to provide fuel for extended exercise.
In our recipe, table salt took care of sodium while granulated sugar checked the carbohydrate box.
But a mixture of just water, salt, and sugar alone isn’t going to taste very good. To add flavor, we relied on two key ingredients: freeze-dried fruit and citric acid.
While other recipes have been known to use coconut water or Kool-Aid powder, we love all-natural dried fruit.
The Everyday AthleteIn conjunction with clinical dietician and nutritionist Alicia Romano, we developed recipes to give you energy and endurance for the activities you love.
We’ve utilized freeze-dried fruit’s concentrated “just-picked” fruitiness in everything from fruit-infused liqueurs to the best strawberry frosting. Here, it was the perfect way to provide intense fruity flavors and gorgeous colors while still being shelf-stable.
Mix it all together, and you’ve created a ready-to-use sports drink powder that is as functional as it is flavorful. Combine a scoop with water, and shake for instant, and delicious, refreshment.
Our Recipe for Homemade Gatorade
Strawberry Electrolyte Refresher
Makes ⅔ cup dry mix, enough for 8 drinks
Total Time: 15 minutes
- ½ cup (½ ounce) freeze-dried strawberries
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon citric acid
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon dried mint (optional)
- Process all ingredients in blender until finely ground, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed. Using fine-mesh strainer, sift mixture into large bowl; discard any seeds and remaining fruit pieces. Transfer to storage container with tight-fitting lid. (Dry mix can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Break up any clumps before using.)
- To drink, combine 8 ounces water and 1 rounded tablespoon dry mix in 2- to 4-cup beverage container with tight-fitting lid. Seal container and shake vigorously until refresher mix is fully combined (fruit powder will not dissolve), about 30 seconds. Serve.