Looking for Healthier Sports Drinks?

Now that the weather is finally starting to warm up, many of our kiddos are looking for something beyond water to keep them hydrated during sports activities and summer camp adventures. Unfortunately, popular “energy” drinks are full of refined sugar, coloring and unwanted additives at the expense of the electrolytes us moms are trying to replace!  

As an example, a 12 ounce bottle of lemon-lime Gatorade contains 21 grams of pure sugar which is almost 6 teaspoons of sugar and more than the recommended daily limit for most children. And parents… we know that all that sugar increases our children’s risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease and has been linked to many chronic diseases. In addition to all that sugar, you will also be dropping good money to provide your kiddo with yellow dye #5 (a possible food carcinogen) and mono-potassium phosphate (a chemical often used as a fertilizer and fungicide). Not what I call “always winning” like the ad suggests.

The best thing to prevent dehydration is to keep your player or camper hydrated before, during and after strenuous events. In general, pure filtered water is the best hydrator for most children and teens. A general guideline for daily water consumption for children and adults is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water, herbal tea or broth. For example, an 80-pound child should aim to consume 40 ounces of a hydrating liquid (or five full glasses) each day. Adding a splash of lemon, lime or other fruit juice can make it tastier. To keep it fun and safe, try this fun plastic-free, insulated sports bottle.

Hot weather and strenuous activity may increase hydration needs significantly. Even a 2% loss in body weight due to dehydration can decrease athletic and mental performance.   Parents, coaches and counselors should keep a close eye out for signs of dehydration which include excessive thirst, flushed skin, increased body temperature, faster breathing, feeling like a lot more effort is required and increased weakness.

After strenuous activity, replacing lost electrolytes, such as salts, potassium, calcium and magnesium, may help the body regulate pH levels, energy, muscle contraction and fluid balance. After the big game, try a recovery snack high in electrolytes like a banana with peanut butter, avocado toast, full-fat yogurt with fresh fruit, or a leafy green smoothie.  Food is the best way to replenish lost nutrients!

Coconut water is also a wonderful electrolyte replacer – and you can try this plain or add it to fresh water. You can also try amping up your kids’ water by adding a a few drops of ConcenTrace Minerals

Here is my kids’ favorite homemade drink which is easy-to-make and super-refreshing!

Amy’s Homemade Thirst Quencher

Makes 1 Quart

  • 1 tablespoon Ultima Replenisher (available here)
  • 3 cups of pure filtered water
  • 1 cup of coconut water (or try half coconut water, half grape, pomegranate or cherry juice)
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan Sea Salt

I shake this all up in a mason jar and then pour it over ice into my kiddos’ water bottles.  Enjoy!


  • Bauman, E. NC 210.2. Sports Nutrition [Power Point Slides], retrieved from: http://dashboard.baumancollege.org/pluginfile.php/3713/mod_resource/content/3/TN_Materials/210/Lecture/pdf/210_2_Handout_SportsNutrition_LS_081214.pdf
  • Meyer, F., Weldon Timmons, B. and Boguslaw, W. “Water, Hydration and Sports Drink,” Nutrition and Enhanced Sports Performance, retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17505

Amy Jackson Rind

Amy Rind works with busy women to reclaim their lives from the health burdens of stress, aging and fatigue. With practical, real food changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can truly begin to nourish your mind, body and spirit. Journey into healing by identifying your unique nutrition needs that will help you and your family feel better, think better and create the life you were meant to live.

Amy earned her 700-hour nutrition consultant certification with honors from Bauman College. She also holds a B.A. in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross.