Rehydrating Your Child Naturally: Homemade Pedialyte

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I get a lot of questions about this from readers and have also wondered myself…how do you rehydrate your sick child without succumbing to the artificial ingredients found in Pedialyte? Just ask any pediatrician across the country and they’ll likely say this is the beverage of choice when it comes to children recovering from the stomach bug…

Homemade Pedialyte from 100 Days of Real Food

I am not saying this drink won’t provide your sick child with some much needed nutrients (we’ve used it before ourselves years ago), but what about the unnecessary extras it comes with like artificial flavors, sweeteners, and color (yellow 6)? We’ve already discussed some disturbing facts about the artificial dyes that require a warning label in many countries outside of the US, but as far as I can tell there aren’t many acceptable rehydration alternatives that don’t contain them. And when I asked our pediatrician’s office if they could please recommend another option, since I wanted to avoid the questionable artificial ingredients in Pedialyte, they had no idea what I was talking about. I am honestly not sure why I was surprised.

So I decided to reach out to a local, board certified pediatrician, who is also trained in integrative medicine, for some advice. Dr. Sheila Kilbane shared with me that there is actually an alternative, and it’s a well-known recipe provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) called Oral Rehydration Salts/Solution (ORS). In so many words she said this solution was created for those in developing countries that can’t just run down the street to the nearest Piggly Wiggly to grab some Pedialyte. And after she explained it to me like that it made complete sense that there would be an acceptable, easy alternative to Pedialyte in existence. So I then went back to our regular pediatrician’s office and specifically asked if ORS would adequately replenish my child during a time of dehydration and this time they said “yes.” It’s amazing to me the amount of pull drug companies have on our doctors these days because Pedialyte is of course made by Abbott, one of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies on the planet.

I’d like to share this “Homemade Pedialyte” ORS version with you today, but with one warning message…

Disclaimer: This recipe is recommended for children who are older than 1, generally healthy with properly functioning kidneys, and not experiencing severe dehydration or high fever (which would probably require direct medical attention anyhow). And, as always, follow your own doctor’s advice over anything you find on the internet!

Homemade Pedialyte Recipe

Mix together:

  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Note: If you fear your child will think this drink is too plain consider adding in a couple splashes of orange Juice. Also, the sugar and salt may dissolve more easily if you warm up the water first.

I did also ask Dr. Kilbane about using coconut water for rehydration since it does contain some natural electrolytes, but the concern there is the lack of sodium. Your body needs the sodium to help you retain the liquid, otherwise it will just go right through you. You could potentially add 1/4 teaspoon salt and some OJ to coconut water to make sure both the sodium and sugar aspects are covered, but the recipe above is a sure thing.

Sponsor Shoutout: Plan to EatScreen Shot 2013-01-31 at 8.48.44 PM

Before I let you go I want to make sure you know about our meal planning and online recipe organization sponsor, Plan to Eat! Kiran from our team uses Plan to Eat religiously to help her plan her family’s meals each week. Their service allows you to pick your own recipes (either from your collection or websites – like ours! hint hint) and then they organize your selected recipes for the week into one concise plan along with a corresponding shopping list. And here’s something they have never offered before…Plan to Eat is giving all of our readers 30% off (!!) annual memberships through February 28, 2013 with the coupon code “EatRealFood”.

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276 comments to Rehydrating Your Child Naturally: Homemade Pedialyte

  • […] Pedialyte (or you can premix 1 Tablespoon of Sugar and ¼ teaspoon of salt to add to a 16.9 oz water bottle to create your own homemade Oral Rehydration Salt ) […]

  • […] Pedialyte (or you can premix 1 Tablespoon of Sugar and ¼ teaspoon of salt to add to a 16.9 oz water bottle to create your own homemade Oral Rehydration Salt ) […]

  • Awesome recipe! Have you tried young coconut water? My husband and I recently went on a hike and only brought straight water, big mistake! Since then I came up with a recipe that I will being taking on our next hike or when we become sick! It uses coconut water, local spring water, high quality apple juice, and high quality sea salt! I decided to go with juice rather than sugar, as it adds more beneficial vitamins and minerals! Have a great day and God bless!

  • Thanks a lot for posting this! I hate to buy pedialyte , in fact I never felt safe giving tons of artificial ingredients to my kiddo when he is sick. Back home in Pakistan, we always use to drink ORS for the cure of dehydration. Few drops of lemons added to ORS gives it a pleasant taste.

  • Catherine

    Just mixed this up since i have the stomach bug :( hoping it will rid the awful headache.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Dee

    My little girl is highly sensitive to chemicals especially artificial dyes and colors. When she was about 1 1/2 she had a nasty stomach bug and of course we gave her orange Pedialyte. Instead of helping her it made her symptoms worse and we ended up at the ER. Then she was admitted for observation as it was running out of her non stop and was still the same orange color. We now know that the reason this happened is because she is intolerant to the artificial colors and flavorings. If she eats or drinks anything artificial we are in for stomach issues and/or behavior issues. We have her on the Feingold diet for this reason but, we hadn’t faced an illness since figuring out her sensitivities. I was so excited to find your post!! Thank you so much. She is drinking the solution and keeping it down no problem. Hopefully we are on the right track now so we can get our little girl healthy again.

  • Thanks for posting this. I found this when I needed it badly, and my current recipe was inspired from this.

    I use a weak lemonade with a little lower salt amount – so that the salt is not obvious in the flavor. I also use sea salt instead of refined salt. Regular homemade lemonade uses 1 heaping cup of sugar, 1 shy cup of organic lemon juice, and about a quarter tsp of real vanilla, with enough water to make 2 quarts. I dilute that to make about 3 quarts of lemonade, then add 3/4 tsp salt.

    The sugar amount is higher, but that is generally not a problem, and can actually be helpful when someone is not only dehydrated but is not able to eat enough.

    It is very helpful, but I also found that it should be consumed slowly. If someone is dehydrated then too much of any liquid at one time can cause nausea.

  • […] Don’t confuse the electrolyte drink Pedialyte® with PediaSure®, a liquid meal […]

  • My kids love this drink. I go by the directions but add the juice of one lemon (it’s about 1/4 cup). I always wonder though if I’m using the right salt…I use celtic sea salt in this..should I be using a different kind..what about regular table salt? Thank you!

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Christy. You can go over to Dr. Kilbane’s site: and ask her direstly or give her a call but I am fairly sure that the type of salt doesn’t matter. Sodium is the essential ingredient which will help the body hold onto the fluids. ~Amy

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