Homemade sports drink

Oct 27, 2019

The nutrition profile of commercial sports drinks is 50 to 70 calories per 8 240 ml, with about 110 milligrams of sodium. Following is a simple recipe that offers this profile, but at a much lower cost than the expensive store-bought brands—and without additives, colours, or preservatives.

You can make this recipe without the lemon juice, but the flavour will be weaker. Don’t be afraid to be creative; you can dilute many combinations of juices (such as cranberry and lemonade) to 50 calories per 240ml and then add a pinch of salt. More precisely, add 1/4 teaspoon salt per litre of liquid. Some people use flavourings such as sugar-free lemonade to enhance the flavour yet leave the calories in the 50 to 70 per 240ml 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 you are hot and sweaty and settles well when you’re working hard.

Runner drinking


1/4 cup (50 g) sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (60 ml) hot water

1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice (not concentrate) plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 1/2 cups (840 ml) cold water


  1. In the bottom of a pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water.
  2. Add the juice and the remaining water; chill.
  3. Quench that thirst!

Yield: 1 litre

NUTRITION INFORMATION: 200 total calories; 50 calories per 8 ounces (240 ml); 12 g carbohydrate; 110 mg sodium


Reproduced by permission from N. Clark, Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 6th ed. (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2020).

Sports nutrition guidebook

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