With that said, filling your water bottles with pre-made, commercial electrolyte drinks for every long run or long ride can quickly add up because many of the best sports drinks are quite expensive per serving.
But what about making your own homemade electrolyte drinks?
Studies suggest that dehydration of just 2% of your body weight can result in significant performance declines because blood volume drops, which increases heart rate and makes your body less efficient at regulating temperature, delivering oxygen to your muscles, and removing waste products.
Therefore, taking in enough fluids before and during your endurance workouts is critical for maintaining your hydration levels and keeping your body functioning optimally.
We will cover:
- How to Make a DIY Electrolyte Drink
- How To Make Your Own Homemade Electrolyte Drinks: Recipes for Homemade Electrolytes
Let’s dive in!
How to Make a DIY Electrolyte Drink
When making your own homemade electrolyte drinks, you can use plain water, but most people start with a base of coconut water since it is a hydrating fluid that naturally contains electrolytes like potassium and sodium.
The general sodium concentration in Gatorade is 160 mg per 12-ounce serving (about 430 mg per liter). There is 2,300 mg of sodium in a teaspoon of salt, so to replicate this amount, add 1/5th to 1/4th of a teaspoon of salt per liter to your homemade electrolyte water recipes.
If you find you really enjoy the taste and health benefits of making your own electrolyte drink recipes, it’s worth it to buy individual electrolyte powders, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium, so that you can get precise when adding the right ratio of each one to replicate commercial sports drinks, rather than relying only on table salt as your primary ingredient.Each electrolyte in a sports beverage imparts a unique function during exercise, and attaining a balance is ideal for performance and health. While it’s easy to get sodium from table salt (sodium chloride), the other electrolytes can’t readily be added to your recipes without distinct powders or tablets.
An inexpensive kitchen food scale is also helpful for measuring the number of grams of each ingredient you need for the electrolyte drink recipes.
How To Make Your Own Homemade Electrolyte Drinks: Recipes for Homemade Electrolytes
#1: Homemade Coconut Water Electrolyte Drink
Coconut water makes a great base in recipes for electrolyte drinks because it is a natural source of potassium and sodium, so it’s ideal for hydrating your body.
To make an electrolyte-replacement drink with coconut water, you can either use straight-up coconut water and add additional ingredients or dilute it with water, depending on your taste preferences and caloric needs.
Coconut water contains about 6 g of sugar per cup (240 mL), 252 mg of sodium, and 600 mg of potassium.
Therefore, if you are using non-diluted coconut water, add an additional pinch of salt per liter (or about four cups).
If you want to replicate the isotonic concentration of most sports beverages, which provide 6 to 8% carbohydrates by volume, you will also want to add another 40 grams of sugar, but many people prefer to just add the additional electrolytes and keep it as a low-sugar electrolyte drink for workouts lasting under an hour or when you’re not exercising.
If you do want to turn it into a homemade sports drink that provides carbohydrates in addition to the electrolytes, you can make a tasty, tropical piña colada sports drink by combining 3 cups of coconut water and one cup of pineapple juice with a quarter teaspoon of salt.
#2: Sugar-Free Electrolyte Drink Recipe
Creating a sugar-free electrolyte drink recipe is fairly difficult if you want to have a sweetness to the drink to offset the high-sodium content necessary to provide the proper amount of sodium to replace that lost in sweat.
You don’t have to make a sweetened electrolyte drink, but it will definitely have a very salty taste if not.
There are a variety of ways to add noncaloric, sugar-free sweeteners or flavorings to homemade sugar-free electrolyte sports drinks.
For unflavored sugar-free sweeteners, you can add stevia or monk fruit sweetener as natural non-caloric plain sweeteners.
If you want to sweeten the flavor of your sugar-free electrolyte drink, you can add Stur water flavoring drops, unsweetened Kool-Aid powder, True Lemon plus a calorie-free sweetener, Water Drops botanical drink tablets, Crystal Light Drink Mix, or sugar-free flavored syrups for flavorings.
Another noncaloric flavoring option for sugar-free electrolyte drinks is to use black tea, green tea, or herbal tea bags. Teabags will not add sweetness, and may even make your drink taste a little bitter, so you will probably want to offset the flavor with stevia, monk fruit extract, or another artificial sweetener.
Most of the fruity herbal teas, such as cranberry tea, apple cinnamon tea, lemon ginger tea, blood orange tea, and any type of wildberry tea, can make delicious flavor enhancers for homemade electrolyte drinks, whether or not you are going for a sugar-free electrolyte drink or a regular sweetened sports drink.
Here is a basic recipe for a homemade sugar-free electrolyte-replacement drink:
- 4 cups (32 ounces) plain water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (you can add a small amount of sugar, or you can omit if you add a flavoring that offsets the saltiness of your electrolyte drink)
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Optional flavoring and/or sweetener to taste as described above
#3: DIY Electrolyte Drink Recipe With Pickle Juice
It may sound odd, but pickle juice is a surprisingly popular homemade electrolyte drink alternative for people that prefer to keep the artificial colors and dyes out of their bodies but still want the electrolyte boost during exercise.
Drinking pickle juice while running, cycling, or working out isn’t necessarily a taste that everyone will naturally gravitate towards, but many people ultimately find it to be a great solution for hydrating during exercise, especially if they want an unsweetened electrolyte drink.
To make your own electrolyte drink with pickle juice, drink straight pickle juice for a sugar-free electrolyte drink, or add 1 tablespoon (20 grams) of honey for every cup (230 mL). This will make approximately an 8% solution.
#4: Mint Ginger Green Tea Energy Drink
Although adding herbal tea to homemade electrolyte drinks is a great way to enhance the flavor without adding any calories, you can create a homemade energy drink using the same principles but adding caffeinated tea bags such as green tea or black tea instead.
Because caffeine is a stimulant, it can increase energy and focus. Numerous studies have suggested that caffeine is an effective ergogenic aid, particularly for endurance exercise, increasing stamina and time to fatigue, and improving overall performance.
You can make a refreshing ginger-mint green tea energy drink with electrolytes by adding 3 to 4 bags of green tea to 3 cups of cold water. Then, add 4 slices of fresh lemon, 3 sprigs of fresh mint, 3-4 tablespoons of honey, and a 1-inch piece of ginger, and allow the mixture to steep overnight.
The more teabags you use, the higher the caffeine content will be for your energy drink.
To turn it into an electrolyte drink, either add 1/4 teaspoon of salt or an electrolyte tablet.
This energy drink recipe is surprisingly refreshing and zingy and has a much more unique flavor profile than most homemade electrolyte drink recipes.
#5: Banana Peel Electrolyte Water
When you are looking into how to make electrolyte water, most recipes will include coconut water, but if you don’t want to use coconut or you have an allergy, there are a few alternatives.
It may sound odd, but you can make homemade electrolyte water by steeping whole bananas, making a tea, discarding the banana, and then cooling the simmered tea.
You can also drink the tea hot, but for workouts, you will likely want to chill the tea in the refrigerator before drinking it.
The banana peel and fruit contain essential electrolytes like magnesium and potassium, along with nutrients like vitamin B6, manganese, and copper.
Here’s how to make a banana peel electrolyte sports drink.
- Rinse 2 bananas, slice off both ends, and add them to a pot of 4-5 cups of boiling water (1000 mL or so).
- Reduce the heat and allow the bananas to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add cinnamon, lemon juice, and honey if desired.
- Allow the mixture to cool fully. Then remove the bananas. You can add salt if you want a higher sodium content in your electrolyte water.
Making your own electrolyte drinks can be convenient when you find yourself dehydrated after an illness, and can support your workouts and training without needing to buy expensive commercial electrolyte drinks with all sorts of added fillers and artificial flavors and dyes that you want to keep out of your body.
For more information on electrolytes and hydration, check out our guide here.