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)
Lemon Electrolyte Drink
- 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 (do not give raw honey to children under the age of 1) (see my note at the bottom for an alternative for little ones)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. sea salt (not table salt – but unrefined sea salt)
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’s generally 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.