Homemade Gatorade Experiment

Oct
25

Post by community member:

Last weekend, my husband ran his second marathon. He came in at just over 3 hours and 6 minutes. I’m super proud!

He spent the past spring and summer training, which meant he went through a lot of sports drink. Even when waiting for his drink to go on sale, we still spent a lot of money. In order to save, I started buying the powder that you mix with water yourself. It worked, but only comes in a few flavors. Husband likes grape. Grape was not a choice.

I decided that I could make him grape flavored drink myself and save even more money. The folks at Gatorade have spent a lot of time and money perfecting their electrolyte formula. There are many variations all over the internet. The following is what I came up with based on what I’ve read.

How to make Homemade Gatorade: Printable

I started with one packet of grape flavored Kool-Aid.

GrapeKoolAid

Add 1/2 cup of sugar. I poured all of the dry ingredients into a clean water bottle so I could easily shake them together at the end.

Sugar

Here’s where I split a few hairs. Some recipes called for salt for the sodium. Some called for salt substitute for the potassium. My grocery store had lite salt which had 10% of your daily potassium needs instead of 19% in the salt substitute. However, the salt substitute was almost $6 instead of $1.50 for the lite salt. I went for the lite salt–1/4 tsp.

LiteSalt

Some recipes called the baking soda optional and some completely left it out. You can’t taste it, and it does help, so I included it. This is 1/16 of a tsp eye-balled as I don’t have a 1/16th tsp spoon. Do any of you have any measuring devices that small?

BakingSoda

I shook the dry ingredients together and used a funnel to add the last ingredient, 2 tbsp lemon juice to my container.

LemonJuice

Finally, add 8 cups of water. You could use a pitcher, but I had this glass milk jug that I liked.

GatoraidJug

It certainly looked like grape Gatorade. I personally thought it tasted better that the Gatorade. It tasted more like a drink and less like a cough syrup.

GatoraidDone

The real taste test was when Husband got home from work. He said it tasted like a grape Popsicle. Woo hoo, success!

One final note: Electrolyte imbalance is serious. I will not be giving this to my husband the day of or the day before his next marathon. I’d much rather spend a few dollars buying him a professionally made drink that I know will provide him with exactly the kind of electrolytes he needs instead of accidentally making a mistake with my measurements and sending him to the hospital. I WILL be sending this with him to work when he’s outside on hot days or when he’s training and having his shorter runs. After this marathon he didn’t even want a sports drink anyway. He went for the water and chocolate milk.

LisaAJB blogs at You Probably Shouldn’t Read This.

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Comments

  1. mmackenzie says:

    What a great idea! My runner sons are grown now, but I could have really used this back in the day. I shopped the sales, but with fellow runners at our house all the time, we went through a lot of Gatorade.

    Also, thank you for posting the note about electrolyte imbalance. I live in Chicago and follow the marathon. As careful as people try to be, this has always been a danger. Also, yay on the chocolate milk! Great for recovery. (Who knew that something that tastes so good could also be a boon after a big race)?

  2. kindigo27 says:

    Great post.

    And yes, there are 1/16 tsp measure spoons. They are the “pinch” size of the “Dash, Pinch, and Smidgen” measuring spoon set. And they do come in handy from time to time.

  3. Faith says:

    I do a LOT of running and cycling, and to cut costs I also make my own sports drink. Sea salt is actually a good way to get a nice blend of electrolytes, and at ethnic food stores is quite cheap-especially for the quantities it takes to make the sports drink.

    Separately, if he ever uses energy gels, a much cheaper substitute is honey. It has a very similar carbohydrate and electrolyte profile, a small amount of molasses added will up the potassium. Since I can get 5 lbs of honey at sam’s for $12, it’s a much more cost effective than even the jugs of gel. (I love local honey, but I’m not willing to pay the higher prices for a sports supplement.)

  4. LisaAJB says:

    We were just reading on the effectiveness of honey last night! He doesn’t train with the gel packs, but he does pick up the free ones on the marathon route. I’m thinking you could use half sugar and half honey for this recipe (or more honey) and be even healthier.

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