You can keep it simple and cheap.  Forget all the powders, potions, and bottles of expensive sports drinks for your kids.  Just send your children off to school and sports with plain old tap water in reusable stainless steel water bottles.  According to Phys Ed: Are Sports Drinks Actually Good for Kids?, unless children will be exercising vigorously for more than 90 minutes, water is better for them.   And outside of exercise, sports drinks are not a good choice – they are just expensive sugar water.

Most sports drinks don’t even come close to replacing the electrolytes you lose when you sweat a lot,  so they aren’t doing what you think they are doing.  If they had enough salt in them, you wouldn’t want to drink them!

For older children (10-12 and up) who are exercising  hard for more than 90 minutes, dehydration is a concern and sports drinks are appropriate.  Studies have shown that young athletes do drink significantly more water when it is flavored and almost twice as much when it contains electrolytes and carbohydrates, like a sports drink.

If you want to be green and frugal, check out this DIY sports drink recipe made with your very own tap water from “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook,” 4th Edition:

Sports drink recipe from “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook”
1/4 cup sugar (or stevia powder to be really healthy!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/2 cups cold water

In a quart pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water. Add the remaining ingredients and the cold water. The drink contains about 50 calories and 110 mg of sodium per 8 ounces, approximately the same as for most sports drinks (unless you substituted stevia powder for the sugar).

So be green, be frugal, and be healthy, fill your reusable bottles with tap water, flavored if serious exercise awaits!

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