You can go online anytime and find easy-to-follow instructions on making your own sports drink, so why go out and buy it?
Frankly, it is easier to buy what you need than faffing over blending, mixing, pulping, mashing, stirring or shaking something into a drinkable concoction.
Or is it?
Go to Google, type in ‘Healthiest Sports Drinks’, and the top search results will yield links to a mixture of sites about either protein shakes, sports drinks vs. water, the sports drinks you ought to drink and alternatives to sports drinks. So, no consensus then whether store bought sports drinks are the clear public favourite over other options. And in a deeper search for the healthiest sports drinks out there, innumerable sites appear advocating the benefits of drinking water or making your own nutrition drink over buying a product of, essentially, water, sugar and, sometimes, added salt. Can’t you get these at home?
To demonstrate how accessible making your own sports drink can be, here is a list of 6 easy recipes you can follow. And a bonus is they can all be made in advance and stored easily for later and continued use:
Orange & Maple
This one is courtesy of American sports nutritionist Barbara Lewin, RD, LD.
To 3 ½ cups of water mix ¼ cup organic orange juice, ¼ cup maple syrup and ¼ teaspoon salt. Simply! And all with a meagre 50 calories per 8 ounce serving.
Natural Sports Drink
An unoriginal title, yes. But, a drink that can be made in many ways to suit many tastes. This 4-cup recipe is courtesy of Wellness Mama, and takes all of 10 minutes from start to finish.
Brew 1 quart of tea (green or herbal teas). Alternatively, warm 1 quart of coconut or plain water. To this add ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon calcium magnesium powder (a cheap, long-lasting investment from Amazon at just under £13 for an 8 ounce tub), minimum ¼ juice (your choice of flavour) and 1-2 tablespoons of sweetener (such as honey or stevia). Mix or shake well, and cool and store in the fridge until later use. This lasts for upwards of 4 days.
A big thanks to One Green Planet for this one!
Take one sports bottle and into it pour coconut water and a ½ teaspoon scoop of spirulina powder (available at all good health food retailers, or on Amazon for as little as £5.95 for a 150 gram pack). Shake well and off you go!
Cherry, Lemon and Orange
This one comes from nutrition site SkinnyMs., an offering for those who require a lot more flavour than the standard range of homemade sports drinks typically yield. It’s guaranteed to replace the electrolytes lost during a workout and rehydrate the body. An especially good workout for home is the turbo trainer.
Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and add ¼ cup honey and ½ teaspoon sea salt, stirring until dissolved. To ½ gallon pitcher add ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, ½ cup dark cherry juice (no sugar added) and ½ cup fresh orange juice. Add to this juice mixture the water, honey and salt mixture, stir, then refrigerate.
Natural Hydration Fruit Drink
Ideal for the younger crowd as well as the older, this is one of the easiest re-hydration drinks you can make.
In your blender blitz 3 cups coconut water, 1 cup apple juice, 1 cup ice, 1/8 teaspoon sea salt and 1 tablespoon honey. A squeeze of lime and/or orange is optional, but certainly recommended. This will then keep for 1 week refrigerated.
Lemon-Lime Lay Low Energy Drink
This is an ideal, full-flavour alternative to Gatorade.
Another job for the blender, combine ¼ cup fresh lime juice, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, 1 ½ – 2 cups water (depending on how strong you want the flavour, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons of honey, then blitz until the honey is dissolved. This can be enjoyed with or without ice.
There is scope to create innumerable variations of electrolyte replenishing and re-hydrating sports drinks. This may involve sourcing ingredients you may not readily find in your local shop, but not always; so much of what is required to make an alternative to your typical store-bought sports drink is as easy to get as a pint of milk or loaf of bread. And if it was necessary to go further afield for the essentials, a one-off nip to a health foods store or online retailer will be the extent of any inconvenience experienced.
The assumption that buying a sports drink is always the better option to making one doesn’t hold. Granted, there’s no doubt it’s easier shelling out cash if cash is there, as opposed to taking the time to create a similar product. Then again, that time spent is not inordinate, and after it’s come and gone you then have something with strong health properties, not to mention knowledge of what’s in it.