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Homemade Sports Drinks: Lower Cost, Same Nutrition As Store-Bought

Commercial sports drinks contain between 50 to 70 calories per 8 ounces, with about 110 milligrams sodium.

You can make a homemade sports drink with the same nutritional profile by using the following recipe but at a much lower cost than expensive store-bought sports drinks.


1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup hot water

1/4 cup orange juice (not concentrate)

2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional, but flavor will be weaker)*

3 1/2 cups cold water


  1. Dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water at the bottom of a pitcher.
  2. Add the juice and the cold water;
  3. Chill.
  4. Quench that thirst!

Yield: 1 quart

Nutrition Information:

Total calories: 200

Calories per 8 ounces: 50

Carbohydrate 12 grams

Sodium 110 mg

Create Your Own

You can be creative when making your own sports drink. For example, you can dilute many combinations of juices (such as cranberry + lemonade) to 50 calories per 8 ounces and then add a pinch of salt (¼ teaspoon salt per 1 quart of liquid).

Some people use flavorings such as sugar-free lemonade to enhance the flavor yet keep the calories in the 50 to 70 calories per 8-ounce range.

The trick is to always test the recipe during training, not during an important event. You want to be sure it tastes good when your child is hot and sweaty and that it settles well in her stomach when she's working hard.

Created May 6, 2010

© Nancy Clark

Nancy Clark is a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics and best-selling author. She counsels active people in her practice at Healthworks, a fitness center in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Her new book, Food Guide for Soccer: Tips & Recipes from the Pros and other books, including her Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for new runners, marathoners, and cyclists are available at www.nancyclarkrd.com and www.sportsnutritionworkshop.com.

Reprinted with permission from Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 4th Edition.

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