How to Make Your Own Delicious Sports Drink

Food Network Kitchen's Coconut Pineapple Punch and Orange Carrott Cooler as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food Network Kitchen's Coconut Pineapple Punch and Orange Carrott Cooler as seen on Food Network

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a dedicated athlete, sometimes you need a sports drink for longer bouts of physical activity — generally exercise sessions lasting longer than 60 minutes. While there are many products on the market that can take care of this need, you may prefer to make your own so you can create your own flavors and control which ingredients are used.

When creating your own sports drink, you need to make sure you have three key components: fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes (particularly sodium). Fluid helps prevent dehydration, carbohydrates provide fuel to the working muscles and electrolytes promote adequate fluid intake and ensure the fluid in your body stays in all the right places.

Beverages contain different amounts of fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes. Water, for instance, is just fluid. Coconut water, however, offers fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes, but not necessarily in the ideal quantities. A sports drink recipe aims to strike an ideal balance among the three components to prevent dehydration, an upset stomach or an electrolyte imbalance. These issues tend to occur only with longer bouts of activity (multiple hours or in very hot conditions), but it’s always good to be vigilant.

Generally, you want to aim for about 14 to 20 grams of carbohydrates, 100 to 125 mg of sodium and 20 to 35 mg of potassium per 8-ounce cup of fluid. (Eight ounces of Gatorade, for example, provides 14 grams of carbohydrates, 110 mg of sodium and 30 mg of potassium.) That might sound like a complex formula, but don’t worry: The recipes below do the work for you. Use them as a base and adjust them as needed; some people feel better with fewer carbohydrates, while others might be salty sweaters and need more electrolytes.

When in doubt, consult with a sports dietitian. Note, too, that for competitive endurance athletes participating in events longer than two and half hours or so, commercial sports drinks might be preferred, as they provide a blend of carbohydrates that is hard to replicate in homemade versions.

Orange-Carrot Cooler

Combine 1 cup carrot juice, 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup water and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Per 8-oz serving: 17 g carbohydrates, 119 mg sodium, 387 mg potassium

Coconut-Pineapple Punch

Combine 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 cup coconut water, 1 cup water and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Per 8-oz serving: 14 g carbohydrates, 112 mg sodium, 271 mg potassium

Through his book and blog, Death of the Diet, Jason Machowsky, MS, RD, CSCS, empowers people to live the life they want by integrating healthy eating and physical activity habits into their daily routines. You can follow him on Twitter @JMachowskyRDFit.

Next Up

Make Your Own Sparkling Drinks

Tired of drinking calorie-filled sodas and juices? Make your own low-cal bubbly drinks with sparkling water or an at-home drink carbonator.

Make Your Own Energy Drink!

Here’s a homemade energy drink anyone can feel good about sipping.

Sports Drinks: Good or Bad?

Everyone from pro athletes to soccer moms question whether these beverages are a good choice. Should you be guzzling these drinks?

Make Your Own Twinkies

Twinkies' ingredient list includes highly-processed ingredients like trans fats, processed sweeteners and preservatives. Avoid all this stuff by making your own instead!

Make Your Own Babaganoush

In the Middle East it’s traditional to find babaganoush with appetizers like hummus, tahini, pita bread and olives. Here's how to make your own.

Make Your Own Pudding

When I was a little girl, my dad’s specialty was chocolate pudding. Believe me, if my dad can do it so can you (burnt eggs were also on the menu).

Make Your Own Jam

Many store-bought jams, jellies and preserves contain more sugar than fruit. While you do need some sugar, it’s really the fruit you want to taste! Simple ingredients and a little bit of simmering and you’ll have the best tasting fruit spread imaginable.

Make Your Own Hummus

Hummus may be an old favorite to some, but still foreign to others. Here is the skinny on this healthy spread and some recipes to try.

Make Your Own Gazpacho

Between the backyard garden, CSA deliveries, and compulsive trips to the farmers’ market – my kitchen is bursting with tomatoes and other goodies like cucumbers, onion and herbs. What’s one of the most tasty and healthy ways to use up lots of veggies? When life hands you tomatoes….make gazpacho!

Make Your Own Croissants

Try these buttery bite-sized treats at your next get-together. They're full of flavor but have just 59 calories per croissant.