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…
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Homemade Pedialyte from 100 Days of Real Food

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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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283 comments to Rehydrating Your Child Naturally: Homemade Pedialyte

  • Anna

    I liked this recipe since I didnt want to use store bought pedialyte. I hope it will work for my son. How do we store it? Is it ok to keep it in a room or should I put it into fridge? Thanks

  • Magda

    What do you recommend for ear infections? Thank you

  • Irene

    Can you use honey instead of sugar?

  • Erika

    I have a 2.5 year old that we found out earlier this year can not absorb any sugars. I have been using this recipe for some time, but my Pedi GI pointed out to me that the true form of this recipe uses powdered glucose, rather than sucrose (table sugar). Here in the US we tend to see sugar and think of what we are used to, but when they hand this out in 3rd world countries it is with the simplest form of sugar, which is glucose. It won’t make much difference for most kids, but if you have a child who has GI issues it can make a difference. For us making it with sucrose would make her significantly sicker, but with glucose it helps her get better. Just thought I’d mention for people with less sugar tolerant kids. :)

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