Make Your Own Homemade “Gatorade”

Now that the weather has warmed up, my boys are CONSTANTLY outside playing basketball, or at the rec center playing basketball, or at a friends playing basketball….you get the idea.  They are ALWAYS SWEATY and ALWAYS THIRSTY! I try to steer them away from the sugary drinks, but without a good alternative they are like homing pigeons…always zeroing in on the SWEET drinks.

Of course H2O is always a good alternative in MY mind…but for some reason they aren’t quite as enthusiastic about it. Occasionally I will stock up on “sports drinks” because I know they will drink them and at least they contain a LOT less sugar than soda or kool-aid. But holy cow! Those things are expensive! At least a dollar a bottle. If you can find a really good sale, sometimes you can get them for 50 or 60 cents. It didn’t take me TOO long to realize I could probably do better than that. ;-)

So, this weekend I have been in the kitchen laboratory mixing up different homemade sports drinks recipes I found online. This post turned out to be a LOT more time-consuming than I ever imagined! But I persevered because I care! ;-)

The first two concoctions were FAILS as far as No. 2 son and myself were concerned. The first one was TOO salty! The second one tasted like nothing. VERY blah/bland/unappealing.

Luckily the third time was the charm though! After reading about several different recipes all very similar to the one posted below, I figured I was on to something. The thing I really like about this one is that you can whip up a single 32 oz bottle super quick…OR…make a bigger batch to keep in the fridge.

But even though the method appealed to me…it was all about the taste for No. 2 son. And on THAT, it got a big thumbs up. As a matter of fact, after I asked him to “taste test” it for me…he proceeded to chug the whole bottle down. :-)  I guess we nailed it!

So before you stop by the store for a Gatorade on the way to the game (like I’ve done a trillion times!), try making your own! It’s easy, fast, and a lot healthier.



Homemade Sports Drink

adapted from Daily Garnish


1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

This recipe makes ONE QUART of sports drink (most Gatorade bottles are one quart, so they are perfect to refill with this.  Since my bottles are roughly 16 ounces each…this recipe filled two of them.)

This is the method I used:

Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea salt) to 1/2 cup HOT water. Stir until completely dissolved. Add 1/2 cup orange juice and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice to the sugar/salt water.

Add a few ice cubes to each bottle, pour half of juice mixture into each bottle, then fill the rest of the way with cold water. Give the bottles a shake to allow the ice cubes to cool down the warm water.




 And here’s No. 2 son reaching for another bottle out of the fridge.  Now THAT’S what I like to see!! :-)

Print Friendly
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter16Pin on Pinterest7.3kGoogle+0

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  1. Michelle says

    Hi. This recipe is pretty close to the one my family has been drinking for years. It is perfect or diabetics because it helps to keep the blood sugar level from spiking. Within the first year of drinking this recipemy husband lost 60 lbs. His cholesterol and blood pressure improved and he no longer needed is diabetic medications. You can mix a glass or a jug. Here is the recipe we use:
    2 cups orange juice (use the Not from concentrate good stuff)
    Any flavor Mio (we prefer the strawberry watermelon flavor. You can use one of the Energy flavors if you want caffine)
    2 tsp salt
    Put oj in jug, add salt, fill with water. Close jug and shake to mix. Add Mio to taste.

    Recipe is really about ratios. One part oj to 8 parts water (1:8). For us it is an easy an cheap alternative to sofas and sports drinks.

      • Misty says

        Brenda, MIO is just a liquid water enhancer. It comes in a little container. I believe in can be found in the aisle next to the other powdered drink mixes (i.e. Crystal Light); someone correct me if I’m wrong. And Michelle, I am definitely going to try that recipe. I can’t do the sugar, and as previous comments indicated, I don’t really care for the “fake sugar” stuff either

      • Brandy says

        Mio contains Sucralose and acesulfame potassium sweeteners, both are ‘fake sugar’.

  2. Julie says

    I love the bottles! Where did you find them? I have 2 little ones that love to raid the fridge, and if I keep bottles in there with their names they might stick with them instead of my water bottle.

    • Mary says

      Hi Julie: We picked these basic Rubbermaid bottles at Kroger (Dillon’s and Ralph’s are the same stores in different areas of the US). I’ve seen them everywhere – WalMart and Meijer, for example – so they shouldn’t be too hard to find. And they are VERY handy!

      • Candice H says

        I had searched for the perfect water bottle forever until I found these a few months ago at target. They fit in a cup holder, have a wide mouth to add ice cubes, and a flip open top that allows a ‘gulp’ instead of a ‘sip’ but is still easy to clean!

  3. Laura says

    Gatorade is replacing the electrolytes in the body and a very basic formula is a sugar (not a chemical substitute), salt and baking soda. Any type of sugar is good, honey (for anyone over 2 years old), raw or brown sugars or agave. Everything else is to make it taste better. Some potassium and magnesium would give an additional boost.
    Splenda is a poison, please don’t use any of those ARTIFICIAL sweeteners ever, they cause havoc in our bodies and they aren’t natural to our body chemistry.
    Stevia is excellent, great for diabetics, but as an electrolyte replacement it is useless.
    Please check thing out before you use them.
    Here is one of the great sources
    Please check it out!

    • Deborah says

      Glad you spoke up on this, Laura. I agree, anything man-made/chemical derivative is deadly. Use a natural sweetener if you need to, but don’t burden your body more with something it doesn’t recognize or can process. I would also change out the kosher salt for a naturally collected SEA salt. It will provide the minerals needed when dehydration is an issue. Helping to balance out your system easily and quickly when needed. Education is the KEY to healthy living, be sure to research an additive before you dump it into you body to deal with it. Check several sources, not what mainstream media is spouting, nor the manufacturer. It’s been proven time and again that they WILL LIE in order to make a profit.

      • Eazy says

        And others will also lie to make people fear anything processed or man-made, right Debs?

      • Maureen says

        Honey, as long as it is RAW, has some very beneficial components. A natural antibiotic and has helped my 5 year old with chronic stomach pain. I googled it and read it cures food poisoning. And go with the natural sea salt for the minerals taken out of table salt

  4. Sheila says

    I think I am going to do this only use frozen juice no water added just scoop some out then I can use any mixture apple cranberry cranberry grape etc. I want and that is soooo much sugar so I am going to try some other lower calorie sweetener. I will report back tomorrow. Love your blog Jillee it has helped me out tremendously with saving money I use your shout your laundry detergent your new shampoo from yesterday I am trying I have really curly coarse long hair and my daughter has baby fine thin straight hair so we are both trying it out. Thank you soo much

  5. Lauralee says

  6. Jill says

    OK this sounds great, Love the idea of using honey instead of sugar, but how about a different juice. what about grapefruit or apple juice (thats the type of juices we drink in this household) or what about homemade juice what that work ( I am able to sneak in pineable and carrots in the homemade juice)


  7. Patricia says

    I think this could turn into an energy drink pretty quickly. I bought a small bottle of vitamin B12 (as we all know is the vitamin that increases energy) and could see putting a dropper full in this concoction. What do you think Jillee?

    Also I think that you could probably take the sugar out and add any type of sugar alternative in. It would just depend on your preference.

    • says

      You gals are all over this! :-) I’m going to add this to the post.
      Most definitely, feel free to use your sweetener of choice. Next time I make it I’m going to try Stevia…which is my sweetener of choice and is what is in my smoothie I am drinking right this very minute. :-)
      Honey, agave, etc….I say go for it! And be sure to report back. :-) Cheers!

      • Jareth says

        Sugar provides carbohydrates so replacing with a sugar substitute won’t do much good.

  8. Penny Hannah says

    How about using Stevia instead of sugar, Splenda or whatever? – you only need a tiny amount with no calories.

    • says

      I was about to say the same thing! Stevia or agave nectar would be great, and no need for warm or hot water to dissolve!

  9. Misty says

    Sumi, I was actually wondering the same thing about the sugar. OJ is packed with it already, and my fiance is diabetic, so probably not a good idea to be adding extra sugar. I’ve found that Splenda is a great substitute for sugar. It tastes a tad different, but you definitely get used to it. Maybe you could give that a try instead of using the sugar; I know I will when I try this.

    • E says

      I want to try this, but I can’t stand using alternatives the studies on what it does the body is worse than sugar IMHO. I think OJ should have enough especially if you use fresh Oranges.

  10. Sumi says

    Hi Jillee, I follow lots of your recipes and tips/tricks and love all of them! This is the first time I’m commenting though, :)
    I love the idea of homemade gatorade. My kids would really love this, can’t wait to try it tomorrow!
    I wanted to know if I want to drink it while on treadmill, or after/during a workout can I substitute granulated sugar with any other sweetener, like maybe honey? As I’m limiting my white sugar intake. I would appreciate your answer. Thanks.