DIY: How to make a homemade sports drink using food!


FYI: It's hot outside so I thought it would be good time to share with you one of my readers' favorite posts from the archives: How to make your own DIY sports drink! Enjoy and stay cool out there!

Summertime is for sweating.

A couple weeks ago I rode my bike from Duluth, MN to the Twin Cities (150 miles) over the course of two days as part of a fundraising effort for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation of MN. While the ride was grueling in some ways (the first day was rainy and cold with frozen toes), in other ways all the riders were spoiled rotten with how well supported the MS Foundation organizes the ride.  There are pit stops every 15-20 miles with snacks, first aid tents, and most importantly re-hydration stations to keep all the riders well hydrated along the route.

While I'm not someone who ever drinks fancy sports drinks after a basic workout, this type of long, endurance, sporting event called for some serious electrolyte replacement. Unfortunately, all that was on hand was the dreaded Gatorade. Ugh!! But alas, I knew that I would end up with a muscle cramp by the end of the day if I didn't re-stock my body with some salt and potassium, so I gulped the neon stuff down and biked on.

My Google search of Gatorade nutrition labels revealed that 1 serving (8oz) of G2 Gatorade contains:

  • 90mg of potassium
  • "not a significant" amount of magnesium
  • 14gm of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup.

Now, don't forget that the packaged food industry doesn't seem to know what a single serving is anymore - because 1 bottle of G2 Gatorade contains FOUR servings! That's 56gm of sugar in single bottle!! That's 23gm more sugar than a can of soda!!And I haven't even started to mention the various artificial flavors and dyes listed in the ingredients. Yikes! Who wants to actually drink that stuff?

This run-in with the most sugary of sports drinks got me thinking about how completely easy it would be to make my own electrolyte replacement drink using only real food ingredients.  So, last weekend before I embarked on Riotgrrravel (the first female and family oriented gravel bike race in MN), I made a batch of the recipe listed below.

You can DIY your own homemade electrolyte drink using watermelon!

I decided to use watermelon as a base fruit juice for my real food sports drink. Partly because it is totally delicious, but also because of its traditional usage in traditional Chinese medicine to replenish fluids and treat overheating in the summer.

According to the USDA, 1 wedge of watermelon (286g) contains:

  • 320mg of potassium
  • 29mg of magnesium
  • 18gm of naturally occurring sugar.

So, not only is watermelon a great source of natural potassium, but it also packs a nice magnesium punch as well! All it needs is some additional sodium and it's nature's perfect cramp-busting cure!!

  Doesn't it look scarily like Gatorate?!?! But it's SO much better for you!!

Doesn't it look scarily like Gatorate?!?! But it's SO much better for you!!

Homemade Energy Drink Recipe:

3 large slices of ripe watermelon (seeded or seedless), or enough to produce 1 1/2 c juice
1 lemon
1/4 tsp sea salt (I like pink Himalayan sea salt because it contains a variety of naturally found minerals.)
1 1/2 c filtered water

1. Cut the watermelon and discard the peel. Don't worry about removing the seeds at this point!
2. Place the watermelon chunks in a blender (I love my refurbished Vitamix, but any blender will work great) and blend at the lowest speed. The point is to liquefy the watermelon, but leave the seeds intact so that they can be separated using a strainer.
3. Pour the watermelon juice through a mesh strainer and into a liquid measuring cup. I used about 1 1/2 c juice for my drink. Discard the seeds and pulp that is strained out.
4. Add the salt and juice of 1 lemon.
5. Stir thoroughly and add to a 20 oz water bottle. Fill remaining space with filtered water (and ice if you choose).
*** Note: I made this the night before my bike race and placed it in the fridge overnight. The next morning I had to shake it up a bit because the water and juice had separated a bit overnight, but it mixed up just fine and tasted great!

Are you trying to reduce the amount of added sugars to your diet? Let me know your tricks to beat the sweet!

**The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

***Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!