Homemade Electrolyte Drink (Move Over Pedialyte!)

After this past weekend, I have approximately 13 loads of laundry to do.

In all honesty, not ALL of the 13 loads were generated this weekend; I did have a running dirty pile going when the stomach flu hit.all.five.members.of.my.family. on Friday night.

I will save you the details, but suffice it to say, I love Gretchen’s simple recipe for homemade laundry stain remover, and now, this recipe for a homemade electrolyte replacement juice is near and dear to my heart.

Homemade Electrolyte Drink (move over Pedialyte) :: Vintage Kids | Modern World


I can’t quite bring myself to pay over $5 for a quart of Pedialyte when I know that I can make it at home and that it not only costs pennies to make, but is far superior in nutritive value and function.  The goal of Pedialyte is to replace the electrolytes and trace minerals that are lost when you become dehydrated, which is especially dangerous and can happen quickly in little ones.  However, the “beneficial” contents of pedialyte (Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, and Zinc ) are not bio-available; meaning that these minerals are synthetically produced and more or less flush right out of your child’s system.

So instead of reaching for the food-color laden, artificially flavored dextrose (aka, Pedialyte), make your own natural electrolyte replacement drink at home!  The ingredients to this ARE bio-available; they occur naturally and are easily absorbed, making them more effective (and healthier!)

Here is the recipe that I use, but it can be tweaked for flavor and age (see below)

Homemade Electrolyte Drink (Move Over Pedialyte!)


  • 1 quart of water
  • juice of 2-3 lemons (fresh is preferable, but I've also used 1/3 c. lemon juice concentrate in a pinch)
  • 1/3 c. raw honey (where to buy)(see my note at the bottom for an alternative for little ones)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. sea salt (where to buy)


  1. Warm about 1/2 c. of the water and place it in the bottom of a quart-sized Mason jar. Make sure it's not hot water, but warm enough to help the honey and sea salt dissolve.
  2. Mix the warm water with the honey and sea salt and until mostly dissolved.
  3. Add the lemon juice and remaining water (use cold water this time) to fill the top of the jar.
  4. Mix thoroughly and there you go!


Here’s why it’s so easy and so effective:

The raw honey is naturally anti-microbial and great for infections. (see our post here for more info on raw honey) There may be a myriad of reasons for the dehydration, but in the case of illnesses, raw honey is my go-to sweetener because of it’s beneficial minerals and soothing properties.  Also, the sugar content will help restore low blood sugar levels that are common after bouts of diarrhea or vomiting.

Real, freshly squeezed lemon juice is a natural thirst quencher and helps fight fatigue.  It is also great for fever reduction and a natural source of vitamin C (source).

And finally, the amazing power of sea salt is what gives this drink an extra punch and is what aids in replacing the lost trace minerals and electrolytes.  Make sure that you are NOT using regular ol’ table salt; which has been refined at high temperatures, is often bleached for uniform color, and contains almost no trace minerals.  Sea salt contains all 92 of the vital trace minerals that our bodies need, so make sure to use pure, unrefined, high quality sea salt in order to make sure that you are truly replacing the minerals that are needed during re-hydration. source   

I don’t technically worry about dosage when we have the stomach flu because honestly, you’ll know when they’ve had too much… I simply try to get my kids (and myself and hubby) to sip on this throughout the day as much as possible, or several sips per hour.  This is a basic electrolyte replacement drink , so you don’t just need to use it when you’re sick – it’s ideal for workouts, traveling, and hot summer days.  My hubby does manual labor and in the summer time, I send several containers of this with him to work each day, to make sure that he stays hydrated.

NOTE FOR BABIES: It is not recommended that you give babies under 1 year of age raw honey, so instead, I substitute palm sugar to sweeten the concoction.  It has a very low glycemic index and is rich in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron. Here’s a great article about palm sugar and it’s uses.

What are your tried and true home remedies for the “pukies“?

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And for the record: I’m not a doctor, I’m just a mama, so everything that I list here comes from my own experience and research.  Please consult with your doctor if you have a serious or lingering illness, and talk with a naturopath/holistic practitioner for certified herbal/natural recommendations.

image from here, amended by me.


This post was linked to Fat Tuesdays   Frugal Days Sustainable Ways  Real Food Wednesdays  WLWW Link Up Party ,  Simple Lives Thursday , Your Green Resource , Recipe and Project SwapFresh Bites Friday , Monday Mania , Homestead Barn Hop , Mentoring Mamas , Seasonal Celebrations , Sunday School Blog Hop Allergy Free Thursdays

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  1. Thanks for all of the healthy advice. I followed the salt source and read the article. I will be adding sea salt to my pantry. The history of the value of salt being equal to gold gave more meaning to “we are the salt of the earth!”

  2. I’m excited to try this for my very active teens as well as my hubby who works outdoors all day and often becomes dehydrated in the summer! Thanks!!

  3. Thanks for the recipe. My husband and kids LOVE Gatorade. I’m going to make this and see if I can get them to make the switch. Might increase the honey amount to help them make the switch and then decrease it slowly. Might even add some fresh orange juice. I also have some homemade apple cider that I could add…. 🙂 ha ha ha sneaky Mom. 🙂

  4. Thanks so much! My son loves lemonade so this will be easy to get him to drink. Back in January I was as sick as Ive ever been in my life and as a mom you know to make sure your kids drink but I didnt do it for myself and ended up in the hospital. When moms sick who is left to go to the store? I will be sure to keep these ingredients on hand for all of us in the future.

  5. This is definitely a God thing! Since having weight loss surgery plain water just doesn’t sit right with me. So I drink it with a powdered electrolyte mix . Since I am not ure of some of the ingredients in it, I have been looking for something else. THIS IS IT! Thank you. I just need to buy some raw honey now. Any recommendations or a good source?

    • oh great!! This really is a great thirst quencher and a great way to replace electrolytes and increase mineral absorption – I have several family members that have had that surgery and I highly recommend this! As for raw honey, if you have a local Farmer’s Market, I would start there, because chances are it will be cheaper. If not there, check a health food store; they’ll almost always carry it. if you do go with a local market, just make sure it’s raw. It’s pricier than regular honey, but DEFINITELY worth it!

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  7. If you cant find any raw honey locally I find that Vitacost usually has a pretty good price on organic raw honey.

  8. we are dealing with the stomach virus here at our house and I just double the batch and will try getting my kids to sip on this stuff. it’s pretty good from what I tried and my kiddos desperately need it. thank you so much for sharing this!

  9. I’m a totally natural mama, however there is one occasion when I resort to offering my teens the big CC without reservation. A pediatrician friend who spent years working in sub Saharan Africa swears by regular Coca Cola as the fastest most effective rehydrator following a stint of the ‘hot sloppys’!!
    But hey, next time I’m going to try your lemon recipe and do a comparison!
    Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network x

  10. This is a great simple recipe! I will use this for my boyfriend who works out a lot and tends to get dehydration headaches. Just one question though, why does a baby under 1 year old need any sweetener?

    • great question -and the answer is, they don’t. My middle daughter drank it fine as an infant with nothing added to it, but my son (who just turned one) wouldn’t touch it unless I had a little something to cut the salty tartness. You can most definitely try it without, and if your child will take it – bonus! If not, I recommend the palm sugar. it’s really a trial and error to see what you can get away with! -kelsi

    • You would add sugar to replace the sugar lost with dehydration. When you get dehydrated your body is robbed of salts and sugars… just a thought.

      • very true – if the person has been become dehydrated, their blood sugar has also dropped from the loss of liquids/food. The sugar helps with the taste, but in this instance, it’s also restoring balance to blood sugar levels as well.

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  12. Thanks for this beautiful easy recipe. I’m currently making my own version for my pukey one year old. I’m boiling a few slices of fresh ginger in water for 10-15 minutes and will use that instead of plain water in this recipe. Ginger is awesome for nausea and vomitting as well as being antimicrobial. And delicious!

  13. Thank you! My friend found this recipe and made me a batch me after a recent severe corn allergy attack. She substituted the honey with agave. It was delicious and helped a lot in my recovery.

  14. ACTIVATED CHARCOAL -what a lie saver for intestinal problems…gas, flu, too much of anything bad in your system…little capsules of activated charcoal absorb HUNDREDS of times it volume…absorbing toxins, gas, bacteria even…LOVE THE STUFF! Follow directions…I just take two a couple times day. Depends on size and weight. Think of it…this is used to absorb chemicals in drug overdoses…my mom called it a miracle when it came to absorbing intestinal gas.

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  16. I was talking with a friend about how much water she and my daughter drink – way above the “half of your body weight” rule. Both of them have muscle spasms that could possibly be a result of consuming too much water and losing essential minerals. I started searching for a homemade recipe that would replace some of those minerals, without sacrificing nutrition. I’m glad I found this one! It’s perfect! I’m so happy to see that you clearly stated the use of an unrefined sea salt, rather than plain table salt. I use only Himalayan sea salt, and that one dietary change, alone, made a difference in my health. I’m also happy to see raw honey as the desired sweetener. I’m going to post this article on my Facebook page! Thanks!

    • Really, you can use any sweetener, but of course plain old sugar is not the greatest for your immune system. Honey and palm sugar are my favorites because they contain natural minerals, but if you can’t find/use those, then maple syrup is usually my next sweetener of choice (because it mixes easily, doesn’t take much, and is naturally sourced). Feel free to use any sweetener you like to take the edge off of the lemon juice, but shy away from white sugar or any “diet” sweeteners.

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  18. Curious, I just made this for the family but how long does it last for in the fridge? I know that I could have them drink it till its gone but did not know if I made some to keep on hand what it’s lasting time frame is
    thanks cheekybums!

    • I’ve never kept it longer than a few days in the fridge because my kids drink it up! If you use raw honey and real salt, I’m guessing you should be able to do at least 2 weeks in the coldest part of your fridge. It won’t mold (the raw honey will keep it from doing that) but it could start to ferment. If you test this out, let me know what you find! I can never hide mine long enough! – kelsi

  19. I just happened upon this and my daughter just happens to be coming down with the flu. I had all the ingredients and made a batch…it is so easy by the way….and she likes it! I truly thought that I would be begging her to take sips, but no! She said it tastes like lemon Gatorade. It feels so good to get it right sometimes….so thank you for that!

    • ugh – I’m so sorry you’re daughter’s getting sick, but I’m glad she likes it!! It really does taste like gatorade! hope it helps and that she makes a quick recovery!!! – kelsi

  20. Hi,

    I just wanted to let you know that I used this recipe for my college science experiment which tested the electrolyte concentration of solutions by measuring the conductance of the ions in the solution.

    My hypothesis was that this recipe would kick the electrolyte butt of store bought power-ade and I’m pleased to report that the experiment proved that your recipe above has about double the electrolytes of a power-ade.

    Thanks for putting great information out there for students as well as parents.


    • Lisa, what? for real? I knew it was good, simply if for no other reason than the ingredients are bio available, so they’re more readily absorbed – but double the electrolytes? that’s awesome! thanks SO much for sharing and if you do any kind of hard copy report, would you mind passing one on?? kelsi (at) cheekybumsmarket (dot) com. thanks!!!

      • Yes, for real! I am actually going to be writing the official report with data tables and photos and everything over the weekend, and once it’s graded I will definitely pass on a copy to you. 🙂
        Lisa S. recently posted..HiatusMy Profile

  21. Hi! I was wondering if you had gotten any feedback about how long this might last. I’m 35 weeks pregnant, and I’d like to take this to the hospital for after delivery instead of Gatorade. I’m working on getting some meals in the freezer, and I’d like to get this made as far ahead of time as possible (nesting much? haha). Have you heard anything or tried to keep it for very long?

    • Amy, first off, congrats on the little bambino!! wahoo! not much longer! To answer your question, I’m totally going to take a stab in the dark, based on what I know of the ingredients. (our mixture never lasts long because it’s yummy, so when I make it when everyone is healthy, it never lasts long!!) If you use RAW honey, you’re getting a much better (nutritional) return and it also acts as a preservative, because real honey can’t go bad or spoil and it’s a natural mold inhibitor and has anti-bacterial properties. Based on that, (though purely guessing) I would say you’re safe to consume it at about 3 weeks old, but keep it on the coldest part of your friedge. It’s not going to grow mold – if anything, it will actually ferment! (To make homemade wine, you use those same ingredients, sans the salt). If it has a slightly fermented smell or taste, you’ll know it’s past it’s prime (it won’t hurt you at all – let your hubby drink it – but if you’re worried, I’d shy away since you’ll be newly nursing). If you’re in full-swing nesting, make it now and freeze it! Make it with 1/2 the water, freeze it in a sports bottle or mason jar, and then take it with you and add the remaining water to bring it to normal strength and thaw it out. Freezing it won’t damage the enzymes or nutrients and you’ll be sure to have enough on hand!! praying and hoping the best for your delivery!!! – Kelsi

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  24. Just made this for my sick 4 year old. Told him it was honey lemonade and he loved it so much I had to slow him down! Thank you so much for the recipe!

    • Lindsay, I’m sorry he’s sick, but so glad he liked it!! We have that problem around here…it’s a favorite beverage of ours and if left unchecked, it goes really fast around here! Hope he gets well soon and no one else catches it!! Thanks for stopping by! – kelsi

    • Bettie – Himalayan salt will work just fine! it still contains trace minerals, so as long as it’s not refined, you’re lookin’ good! thanks for stopping by! Kelsi

  25. Your homemade product is missing a key necessary ingredient that commercial electrolyte replacement products contain: potassium.

    • Linda, yep, this drink doesn’t have added potassium at all. In commercial drinks, it is added because they have such high sodium levels that it is beneficial to their marketing to add it in. Unfortunately, because it’s not a real food-based potassium, (it’s made in a lab) it is not bio-available, meaning your body doesn’t recognize it, not absorb it, like it does with naturally occurring potassium, and so you simply don’t benefit. It’s really not possible to “add in” potassium with homemade drinks because your potassium, in order to be beneficial, needs to come from food – not beverages. Also, by using real sea salt and not table salt, the amount of sodium that would normally leach away the potassium, is not as high. Here’s a great article on the comparison of real salt vs. table salt and the potassium issue: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/05/end-war-on-salt.aspx

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  27. I used this recipe for my second half marathon instead of gatorade or other electrolyte drinks throughout my run and it worked wonders!! I made the tradeoff because I was 8 weeks pregnant and didn’t want any artificial drinks at that time. I have since continued to use it for morning sickness, dehydration and GI issues throughout pregnancy and am a big fan! I substitute honey for agave nectar because it has a low glycemic index and gives you the sustained energy you need when doing endurance training…I will say that I use much less agave nectar than the amount of honey recommended though because its sweeter. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!!

  28. I am just getting over the stomach flu so today I made a batch of this and have been sipping on it. After 2 days of not eating anything it tastes just delicious! I used one lemon and one large orange since that’s what I had on hand, but next time I would use 2 lemons and an orange I think. Thank you for this great recipe! My 22 month old has had a bit of a bug also so I’ve given him some to sip on too.

    • Kari, I’m SO glad it helped!!! It’s surprising how – soothing – it is – for lack of a better word! The fresh orange sounds wonderful too! Hope you are all back to tip top shape! – kelsi

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  32. We just had a trip to Disney with our 18 month old. The day before we were supposed to leave, he got very sick with a very high fever and throwing up. As soon as we got home, I found your site and made this for him (was not comfortable with giving him pedialyte). He loves it! I know that he was very dehydrated and when I told his pediatrician that I had him drinking this recipe, he said this probably saved us from having to hospitalize him. Thank you!!

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  34. Have you tried using young coconut in your rehydration recipes? My husband and I recently went on a long hike and only brought water, that was such a mistake! Since then I came up with a recipe for an electrolyte drink that I will be bringing along next time! It uses coconut water, local spring water, apple juice, and sea salt! God bless and have a great day! 🙂

    • Anna, I LOVE using coconut water as an electrolyte replacement! We try to keep some on hand, but I use it in our smoothies alot 🙂 I’ve found that this is a MUCH cheaper alternative…especially in those unfortunate times when EVERYONE is sick 🙁 However, if you need it in a hurry and you have coconut water on hand, then it works GREAT as an electrolyte replacement.

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  37. This is sooo sweet. We used this as a concentrate and diluted it with water. Cutting down on the honey might be helpful it you don’t like it so sweet.