Rehydrating Your Child Naturally: Homemade Pedialyte

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 your little one recovering from the stomach bug… And in case you are not familiar with Pedialyte, it’s a hydration solution that is meant to offset the effects (such as vomiting or diarrhea) of illnesses like the flu.

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 (Gatorade or other sports drinks often come up as another electrolyte solution but it’s also full of artificial sweeteners and dyes).

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 better choices on fast rehydration. 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 (N-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” N-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. You could also pour this solution into freezer pop molds and make homemade Pedialyte popsicles.

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 table 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.

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379 thoughts on “Rehydrating Your Child Naturally: Homemade Pedialyte”

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  1. Just be very very careful that the measurements in the WHO recipe must be exact. And splashing a dollop of orange juice or other sweetner in could upset the balance of sugar and salt and affect absorption. Your bowel needs a small amount of sugar to help it absorb fluid during times of gastro. However too little sugar (or glucose) is ineffectual and too much can actually increase fluid loss and so make you child sicker. This is what used to kill children when people were advised to give undiluted flat lemonade.
    I am not sure what products are available in the USA but in Australia there a couple of different preparations which come in sachet or disperable tablet form. The unflavoured version of these does not contain any colours or flavours. These commercially made powders also contain other salts such as potassium which may be important in some forms of gasro illness or if your child is significantly dehydrated.

  2. There is a different solution that just launched in Walgreens and CVS (in the baby aisle) called DripDrop. It is also an ORS, developed by a Mayo-trained physician. DripDrop does not contain any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It is sweetened with sucrose, fructose and a very small amount of sucralose, so that may be a non starter for this audience, but an all natural solution is on it’s way. Full disclosure, I work for this company, but I follow 100 Days as a mom myself. Anyway, I just thought you might want to know there is something else out there.

  3. I would strongly recommend to use raw honey instead of sugar (even better if you can afford to get Manuka Honey). The nutrition is greatly different. And to use pink Himalayan salts instead of regular salts -to mineralize better. Same amounts. You can add a little lemon juice and a splash of apple juice for taste that kids will like. If your kid doesn’t have a cold, or if it isn’t too cold outside then use coconut water as your base water. (Coconut is very cooling).
    Cristina -Ayurvedic Counselor.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Dee. I’m not really familiar with company or their products but agave is a bit of a red flag for me, personally. ~Amy

  4. I would recommend a different juice other than OJ. If your child ends up vomiting that OJ is not going to be fun. How about a tiny bit of ginger? That would help the tummy and maybe add a bit of flavor. Just thinking out loud :)

  5. I have two teenagers that are very physically active and feel like they need a good option to rehydrate. I was horrified after researching some of the ingredients in the sports drinks that I have been paying big money for! In searching for an alternative I went to the baby aisle for pediasure
    ….to only find a lot of the same ingredients! Could not believe it! …Thank you for posting & I hope you will consider posting good recipes for rehydration drinks for teens. **greatly needed! :)

  6. 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. :)

    1. Erika, how much powder glucose did your Dr say to use for this recipe? Did he/she mention anything about the salt? Use regular table salt? Sea salt? Himalayan pink salt?
      Thx for sharing this info!

      1. Kiz,

        The recipe is 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 tps salt. The salt is just regular table salt. This recipe is mainly used in 3rd world countries, so just basic plain salt. You probably could use sea salt too, you just probably wouldn’t want it to be too course, especially if feeding to a baby or small child who is using a bottle or sippy cup. Do you have someone in your family who has issues absorbing sugars?

      2. Thanks for the info. I do not have anyone in the home who has trouble absorbing sugar, but I am trying to omit sugar from our diet as much as possible. Both my kids 7 years & 16 months, are showing signs of skin dermatitis and the Drs haven’t been of help to find out what is triggering it. It seems to be seasonal so right now my 16m is showing signs of it and this time last year my son had it really bad. He now has mild skin discoloration from the dry scaley patches that formed last year, so I am working changing their diet and omitting things like sugar & gluten to see if that helps. My 16m old just got the flu and doesn’t want to eat or drink many fluids so I am going to try out this recipe to keep her hydrated.
        Thx again!

      3. I think less sugar is good. Hopefully you find something that works for your kids. If your baby doesn’t take to it right away, keep trying. Mine wouldn’t drink it at first, I think because it tasted funny. I tried in a bottle, a sippy, a regular cup. Finally when I put it in a medicine syringe thing and squeezed it into her mouth she took it. I think she thought it was fine that it tasted weird if it was ‘medicine.’ Now we actually call it her medicine water.

        Has your dr ruled out excema? My 4 year old deals with excema that is aggravated by many things; seasons, contact irritants, and foods. One of the biggest things that helped with her was switching to homemade laundry detergent. I promise, I do purchase things! But it is so much easier to make the detergent then hear her complain every 3 minutes that she is itchy and it hurts. And much less sad. Just curious if you have tried that? I’m not really sure the differences between skin dermatitis and excema, so I don’t know if it would help or not, but I know that I have several friends who have kids with different skin issues and that seems to help most of them.

      4. The dr said it isn’t eczema, but I am going to take them to a dermatologist and see what they say. The only thing that I have found works is a hazelwood necklace, but my 7 year old won’t wear them, he always breaks them after a few weeks and I haven’t found one with a break away clasp for my 16 month, and even if I did she would rip off the Baltic Amber I bought her for her teething. Have you tried the hazelwood necklace for your kids? Google it. It helps with eczema and GERD and other issues. I haven’t tried the homemade soap, but maybe I should. I have so many different recipes for it, I just haven’t gotten around to trying it. The only thing the dr said was to use aquaphor lotion 2x a day and that it would help with their skin. It hasn’t. I may try hazelwood lotion next. Thanks for all the good advice. It was a little bit of a struggle giving her this pedialyte version but like you said, I kept trying and she seems ok now. This will be my go to from now on. :)

    1. Erika, how much of the powder glucose should be used in this recipe? Did your Dr make any other suggestion on the salt? Regular table salt? Himalayan pink salt? Sea salt?


  7. 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

  8. Finally tried this today! It was so simple to make and my son drank it right up! I added a splash of OJ and a little lime juice! I’m thankful for a natural alternative that is sooo cheap and easy to make!

  9. 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!

    1. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. I think it’s worth mentioning that there is now a version of Pedialyte with no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or dyes. Its ingredients say: Water, Dextrose, Potassium Citrate, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid and Zinc Gluconate. I am not a doctor, but I know salt contains sodium and not potassium which is also very important so I think the ORS may be lacking in some ways. I use the home remedy when its just a stomach bug with no signs of dehydration, but since my toddler woke up this morning acting listless with dry eyes and mouth I was very happy to find this dye-free pedialyte at my local Publix.

    1. The actual ORS recipe has potassium chloride and sodium bicarbonate in it too. To get the potassium chloride look for a ‘salt substitute’ and the bi-carb is just bi-carb (or baking) soda.

  16. Heya we are for the key occasion below. I stumbled upon this plank and i also in discovering It truly handy & the item forced me to be out much. I hope to show a little something returning and also assist some others that you solved the problem.

  17. The reason your doctor didn’t know what you’re talking about when you mentioned artificial ingredients is because you’re just talking non sense. You think sugar, and salt aren’t processed? You think they’re 100% natural? Don’t worry about the petty things. They don’t matter in the long run.

  18. Has anyone used coconut water in place of pedialyte? I have read that coco water naturally has lots of potassium and other electrolytes.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Michele. If you read through the comments, you will see others readers comments on coconut water. :) It is often used to replace sports drinks, as well. ~Amy

  19. Thank you! I live in a rural area and it is quite a trek to go to the store especially while trying to care for a sick one. I usually have these ingredients on hand. So much easier!

  20. Thank you for this! Neither of my kids would ever drink Pedialyte, they didn’t like the sweetness or the texture (thicker than water, juice or Gatorade). I tried to drink it once and can’t say I blame them.

    I have relied on broth or watered down juice. Didn’t realize the importance of salt. Will try this version next time.

  21. My kids love anything in popsicle form- I’m sure if I froze this they’d be pretty happy when sick. I’ll give it a try. Thanks!

  22. My son has severe leg cramps at night and drinks a small amount (4 oz??) of Gatorade or Powerade every night mixed with 8 oz of water to help ward off the cramps. Do you think this drink would serve a similar purpose? We have gone to dye-free sports drinks but it still has tons of other stuff in it.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kerri. I think you might need to add an electrolyte source. A reader below suggested a banana for it potassium. ~Amy

  23. My 7 year old son recently caught a nasty stomach bug that was going around and was probably puking 20x a day. I took him to his family doctor where they basically told me I needed to go out and buy a can of chicken noodle soup and pediylate because he was dehydrated. I told her I would make my own soup & Pedialyte and she made me sound like an incompetent parent because I wasn’t going to purchase it like she recommended. She said something like “I don’t care if you put him back on his regular diet then he needs to have these things” I ignored it, thanked her and went on to thaw out chicken broth I already had in the freezer and mix the few ingredients your recipe for pedilyte called for. Plus a little coconut water. I couldn’t get the food & liquid in him fast enough so I decided to take him to the ER anyway. He could barely walk on his own from the dehydration and he had lost 5 lbs at this point. One of the nurses again suggested getting him to drink. She said “How about Pedialyte & Apple juice mixed together?” I said I prefer him not to have these things, I brought my own that I made at home. She asked what was in it and went to consult one of the doctors about the ingredients. Apparently it was okay but the kid hadn’t eaten in 4 days and his stomach wasn’t up to the amount of liquid they needed him to consume in a short amount of time. His heart rate way too high and they ended up needed to give him an IV anyway. Before we left another one of the doctrs against recommended going to buy a can of chicken noodle soup where I repeated that I made my own. I told her I used the carcus of the chicken along with a bunch of vegetables. She said what about salt? One thing the cans contain are a lot of salt. I said yes I used garlic salt. She said well regular salt contains iodine I assured her I only use organic ingredients. So basically she was concerned about the type of salt I used but not the fact that she just suggested I buy junk out of a can. Basically I just wanted to share my story so people know how much the healthcare industry will push you to do the norm and you need to stick up for your rights and your children even in a scary time. So this Pediylate recipe is in fact several doctors approved and don’t be afraid to refuse store bought pedialyte next time someone suggests it to you.

  24. Here’s the thing–salt does not replace electrolytes. Na+ and Cl- are electrolytes, but there are many more-Mg2+, Ca2+, HCO3-, K+ and a few others that are essential for muscle function, blood pH, brain activity, neuron communication— you know, life.

    Salt prevents your body from loosing water. The balance of salt (NaCl) on the inside of the cell vs. outside of the cell is changed when you are dehydrated. Cells get rid of water to try and keep the salt gradient in check. When you drink something with salt in it, you are trying to keep the fluid in the cell by correcting the imbalance.

  25. I always use essential oils first. I use doterra oils which are pure enough to ingest. They are also safe for the kiddos. Ginger and Peppermint oil is amazing for little ones and a blend called digest zen has fennel. Can be rubbed right on their bellies or feet with a carrier oil.

  26. Regarding “tameredwater”, seems that the Reformation is still being fought in some fields. But a point in her favor, processed foods have brought down food poisoning to a point where it’s not longer a real problem. Food poisoning was a regular occurrence only 30-50 years ago, now it’s practically unknown. So, yes there’s positive side to processed foods, but perhaps the down side is we surrender our knowledge (and perhaps our health) to the processors and forget that we don’t need them for everything. So, yes learn alternatives to Pedialyte but perhaps also understand why some favor processed foods.

    I imagine another factor in the dependence on Pedialyte by some institutions is the markup on the product. There’s probably not a billing code for:

    1 quart water
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Besides, if you prepare this on your own, you’ll probably not see a doctor, then how would they bill you.

  27. Ok. I’m not from the US. I just thought there would some kind of magical alternative to Pedialyte, but this recipe has been used in my home ever since I was born. Pedialyte is just the same recipe contaminated with artificial stuff (as usual). It is funny how the medical field is so advanced in the US, but at the same time so behind common sense i.e basic rehydration recipe.

  28. Thank you for this recipe. I just called regarding my son who is sick and when the nurse suggested pedialyte, I balked. Not only am I against all the artificial additives, but it is literally -14 degrees here today (without windchill). No way am I taking my sick kid to the grocery store in this. He is drinking his homemade pedialyte as we speak. As some one in the medical field, I find it appalling that medical professionals can be so narrow-minded. Hydration is not rocket-science. Thank you for your post! :)

  29. a nurse says she is a med pro and she says Pedialyte is ok? see it is all so scewry, readd the lable how can that be good

  30. Thanks for this recipe. My daughter has a rare condition that causes severe food and chemical allergies and as such is allergic to citric acid which is found in all brand and off brand flavored and unflavored pedialyte. I even checked out baby’s only pediavance and they only had flavord versions and had lactic acid in them. So i am thrilled to see a recipe i can use for her that wont cause a major reaction.

  31. My wife has been pretty ill lately and can’t keep much down (or in). Our midwife suggested Pedialyte to get her hydration up and keep the baby growing healthy.

    The CVS generic unflavored version (same active ingredients as Pedialyte) has no artificial ingredients (no color or flavoring) and is cheaper than Pedialyte, which I believe also makes a “plain” version with no unnatural ingredients.
    So it seems not all Pedialyte is bad. Tastes just fine plain too.

  32. I am a registered nurse and also a mother of three and have been through the stomach bug more times than I would have liked. I have two concerns about this recipe- the first is sugar will worsen diarrhea, that is precisely why the docs recommend pedialyte or g2 gatorade in the first place- fruit juice, and any other sugar is not recommended. Try getting a kid to drink electrolyte replacement fluid without anything sweet to make it palatable. Secondly- this recipe does not replace potassium, which is extremely important for heart and muscle function- this is lost rapidly during episodes of vomitting and diarrhea and can lead to heart dysrythmias. That being said, the only time my children receive anything with artificial sweetener is when they have the stomach bug. Also, pedialyte makes a dye free version- just fyi.

  33. Does the type of sugar used matter? I hate to give my 1 year old white refined sugar as she has never had a taste of it yet! Would some raw can sugar or other sugar like maple syrup work? Thank you! She had a febrile seizure tonight and I’m a lot paranoid at this point!

  34. Hi, I made some of this actually about 5 minutes ago and I’ve been sipping on it, I did add the orange juice to it also. My question is being someone who regularly drank pedialyte when sick because I like the taste how can I make the homemade pedialyte taste better? It has sort of a fizz to it and I don’t really like it. Was I supposed to use hot water, or is cold water fine, etc. I also found a couple other recipes for this ( here is the link; ) and wanted to know if anyone has tried them or is willing to and give me some feedback? My main goal with making pedialyte instead of buying it is my husband drinks it like crazy and for 3-6$ a bottle it gets expensive so I was hoping to save money but I know he won’t drink anything unless it taste good. If anyone can help me I would appreciate it, thanks everyone!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Stephanie. It is really just meant to be used to rehydrate in situations where rehydration is needed because of illness. Is your husband using it as an everyday drink? ~Amy

      1. This is also a common recipe to replace gatorade or powerade after/during a workout, therefore it could easily be consumed daily, with no problems.

        Water, sugar (though raw honey is better), and salt (I usually add some lemon, too) are all parts of a normal diet & make quite a healthy beverage.

  35. Can this be used for a 96 year old who get dehydrated quickly? Please explain what electrolytes are? Trying to replace those also.

    1. I’m sure this works for any age. I worked as a nursing aid in geriatrics for about 8 years and we frequently had to work on rehydrating patients. Something like this probably would have helped them much better on a regular basis and helped them lead a more comfortable last few years. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about all this then and I had no intention of continuing in the medical profession beyond that. Now I know to balance the natural medicines and helps with the modern medicines when needed. My husband, as a nurse, is still slightly skeptical but I remind him that modern medicine is only a few decades old where as most of the remedies I am willing to turn to first have been used for centuries with few problems. I would also suggest finding a good recipe for bone broth and give to the 96 year old in your care. Many additional minerals and nutrients in that. Take some for yourself as well =)

  36. One danger of promoting something you have to purchase(as well as the junk it contains)is that if you need the product quickly and either cannot really afford it or cannot get to a place to buy it your child becomes even more ill! Far better to just “know” what to mix up at home-unadulterated-does the job and hardly costs anything!

  37. Tamperedwater…that is just the trolls name, get the pun – needing to promote the unnatural chemical version of pedialyte, that is what trolls get paid to do and “tameredwater” is a fitting name because their products are just that “tampered with chemicals”. Trolls are becoming more obnoxious, as they are supposed to be, trying to deter people from healthier natural alernatives. Keep up the good work Lisa. We are grateful for your hard work.

  38. Have you looked a baby formula!?! I need to supplement while I’m at work and I was shocked when I read the ingredients. Similac’s first ingredient is CORN SUGAR. In formula – what?

    1. Hi Kim. Look into powdered goats milk. I read that powdered goats milk is a great formula alternative. Check it out and let us know what you find out. Hope this is your answer!

  39. tamperedwater. if youd bothered to read the story, you would have seen this part: “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.” yes, there are fewer infant mortalities due to medical advances, but can you really consider pedialyte a MEDICAL ADVANCE? look at the ingredients. add a couple more sugars and you’ve got Gatorade. except oddly, Gatorade uses natural flavours. do your OWN research and see for yourself the effect all this stuff has on the body. HOWEVER, the refined sugar thing is just as detrimental to health as all the artificial stuff. Tessas got the right idea, all natural, the way things were meant to be.

  40. I used and taught this recipe extensively while living in Bolivia as a nurse. It saved many children’s lives, as diarrhea and vomiting are a leading cause of death among children under 8 years old in developing countries. There really is no need for all of the “extras” in our commercial blend. That said, if your child is very very ill, and you don’t have access to clean water and the ingredients to make your own ORS, then it is completely worth it to use the commercial product. The health benefits of using it in an emergency far outweigh whatever minimal damage can be done by artificial ingredients used short-term. The solutions are only to provide essential electrolytes, while the body itself fights infection. So, homemade works wonderfully, but commercial is also better than nothing if homemade is not an option.

  41. Coconut Water! It is the best re-hydrating drink. My kids love it and it is 100% natural, which I love. Whether you buy it at the store (Coco Libre is my favorite) or drink it right from the coconut it is all natural and delicous!!!!

  42. Hi, completely surprised to read your post. In Holland, pre-packaged ORS is sold at the pharmacy, and it’s considered an important recipe for when travelling abroad (especially for tropic destinations). So not only is this recipe considered safe, it’s standard practice for situations with bad dehydration. That being said, I haven’t used this for my daughter (2 years old) yet, as there has been no need. And I would probably start wit some homemade broth and watered down apple juice which is just pressed apples. ORS is really good for having something to fall back on, which will medically speaking do the trick if nature fails to get back on it’s own feet.

    1. Tessa, do your children always keep the watermelon juice down? I’d love to use it because I waste lots of money on Pedialyte only to have my children refuse to drink it. Also, do many of your friends use watermelon juice for their kids? I’d like to try and convince my wife to let me try it for our son. Thanks.

      1. They don’t get sick very often so I’ve only had to do it a few times, but it seemed to do the trick. It was recommended to me by a friend who is very health conscious. I have a juicer and it seemed to me that something so fresh and hydrating would be worth a shot. I don’t think many of my friends would do something like that, but mostly because I’m pretty natural in my treatments when it comes to my kids, most of my friends rely on store bought options. But I think juiced anything is definitely better than water alone. I tried pedialyte in the past and my kids didn’t like it.

        Good luck!

  43. I posted this as a reply to another comment, but feel the need to be heard independently as well. As a nurse, I think the suggestion to concoct a recipe to rehydrate a sick child is ludicrous and arrogant when, like you said above, pediatricians…experts in their field of medicine…suggest pedialyte. Get educated people. Go to peer-reviewed journals of medicine, not the internet, to find what you need to know about the health of your child. Do what you want for yourselves, but don’t pretend you know more than you do when your child’s health is at stake. If you had done your research properly, you would see clearly that the survival rate of children has increased dramatically in the last fifty years due to our medical advances. This is not some big-brother conspiracy to secretly make children ill with additives. Pedialyte is formulated to be convenient and safe so that even idiots will use it properly, and fewer children are hospitalized with dehydration being the main issue, further exposing them to illness while hospitalized! This was a very poor choice in products to challenge in this way. Because of the risk you have put the children of any parent who listens to you without the education to know better, I will no longer support or follow your site.

    1. To Tamperwater, Please DO stop following this site. I also am a health professional, [30 years an RN, and mother and grandmother] and feel it tragic when you are so threatened as to respond in such a negative and demeaning fashion.
      If a parent is told to give Pedialyte to their child, a home brewed solution is quite acceptable. You sound like you are severely under-educated as you show no understanding or awareness of the serious dangers in the artificial additives in many commercial preparations.
      Consumers, particularly non-health professionals will benefit from support and sometimes re-education. You tone will push anyone away and slam shut any door for the opportunity of increasing the parent’s information and education.

      1. Thank you for your post. Who would want to give their kid artificial anything? The artificial world is KILLING US. If you dont know what they do to your body, ask someone like me, who has suffered my entire 53 years with chronic inflammatory disease. I stopped all artificial sweeteners (and Wheat) and I am now free of all inflammation. Again, why would you give this poison to your kids?

    2. Wow, Tampered Water… Not to be rude, but I think someone tampered with your own water. Homemade is what has been done throughout HISTORY, & history is proving itself over & over again. There are miracles in the medical industry (mainly trauma/emergency), but when it comes to the rest, it’s sick care, not health care. Why would someone choose chemicals & artificial ingredients proven to be detrimental to health, when they can make something that is natural the way God made things in the first place? Modern pharmaceutical people decided to play God & mess with natural ingredients, & all its done is make people worse & worse. Extremely sad, as TRPate said above, that you are so threatened that you feel the need to crush this website, millions of people who have figured out natural living is a great thing, & good information without being informed (which you are not). DO start researching peer reviewed medical journals YOURSELF, please! You’ll be shocked at what you find! Geez…..

    3. Tamperedwater, thank goodness you will no longer follow this site, because you clearly are a part of the problem — trusting doctors and the big food companies blindly when they have a huge profit motive no to do the right thing. Many doctors receive no nutrition education at all in medical school, or at best a few hours’ worth. They do not always know best. It is clearly stated in this post to ask your doctor, but many do not have the access to doctors to do this. The additives do not have to be tested for safety — do you know how easy it is to get an ingredient approved? See:

    4. I think you missed the part where the recipe came from the WHO and was given to her by a doctor. Maybe a little reading comprehension practice would do you good, since you obviously don’t have the patience to read through an entire article instead of immediately becoming outraged at the idea that someone could actually make something on their own. There is absolutely no need to have artificial dyes or sweeteners in a rehydration solution. They do nothing except get the child used to drinking brightly colored, overly sweet drinks.

    5. Wow talk about arrogant. Only docs & nurses know what’s good for my child? My child suffered from severe eczema while taking NINE prescription &over the counter meds recommended by his dr. When I took him off the meds & went to the library to look up hollistic methods of healing him, the doc was very surprised how well he healed until I told him what I did. Then he was angry & degrading. Docs don’t want to see results if they learned it in med school.

    6. I bet you when you didn’t read the entire post that you also forgot to take into account the families out there that when aren’t going to leave the house when their child is throwing up or having diarrhea unless it turns into an emergency case and they’re forced to go to the emergency room. Millions of families out there might be able to squeeze out money for a basic internet connection but not be able to afford shelling out $20 plus for an unexpected bout of rehydration drinks for an unexpected illness. Almost every household will have water, sugar and salt on hand to make this. As others have stated, we don’t need those additives that only make us more sick. If the flavor isn’t appealing, add some fruit juice (preferably fresh squeezed).

      My daughter and I were sick earlier this week and now my husband (he’s a BSN, RN) is sick and needing rehydration. I’m not going to go blow a bunch of money on some hyped up as the only choice drink when I can whip it up in my kitchen in 5 minutes. I squeezed a couple oranges, measured out the other ingredients and the drink helped a lot. It was pretty much the only thing my daughter ingested for two days. My husband is now grateful for the drink himself so he can feel better sooner.

    1. WOW Tamperedwater! Did Pedialyte threaten to stop giving you a kickback if you didn’t post this? Are they threatened that the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION might cause them to take a loss if word gets out we don’t need Pedialyte? It is sad and scary that you are in a position to be offering health advice to the general public on a daily basis.

  44. I used to give my kids some stock (organic cubes or homemade, as long as it is a bit salty) and tea with a little sugar. Drinking a little sip of each until the stomach calms down. Works just fine.

  45. what about potassium??? you need potassium when rehydrating or it can result in heart failure. baaaad post and bad medical advice….

  46. As a burgeoning student of science, I worked in the food service industry whilst completing my degree. Servers and bartenders call this concoction “ghetto gatorade”. A hard partying staple that gets most “industry” folks through their shift…

  47. OMG people! Pedialyte does make an unflavoured, dye free option, in 1L bottles:
    Ingredients: Water, Dextrose. Less than 2% of the Following: Potassium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, and Zinc Gluconate.
    For starters, dextrose IS natural sugar, it’s just not labelled as “sugar” because then you’d be all like, “ewwww, sugar!”. Potassium in balance with sodium is important and necessary for proper nerve impulse transport. Messing with that can be life-threating and lead to heart failure. Nerve impulses cannot travel without the right ratio of sodium:potassium, and the little heart. Stops. Beating. I challenge anyone with so-called “homeopathic water” or making their own coconut water ORS to get the mEq of the ions right to maximize uptake without increasing stomach upset. But you know- it’s only your dehydrated kid’s life you’re messing with… not mine.

    1. I agree entirely. As a nurse, I think the suggestion to concoct a recipe to rehydrate a sick child is ludicrous and arrogant, when like you said above, pediatricians…experts in their field of medicine…suggest pedialyte. Get educated people. Go to peer-reviewed journals of medicine, not the internet, to find what you need to know about the health of your child. Do what you want for yourselves, but don’t pretend you know more than you do when your child’s health is at stake.

  48. You should check out the product Organic B.R.A.T. It’s free of the top 8 allergens and is like an organic/healthy version of Pedialyte but tastes WAY better!!! It has additional electrolytes like the gatorades of the world… but no artificial coloring. It’s based on the old school bananas, rice, applesauce and toast (but no toast used…) It’s made to slow absorption/digestion and ease an upset stomach. I’d love to know what you think of it. It’s made by a friend and I think it’s a brilliant idea!

  49. This post makes me really nervous. You need to be incredible careful when dispensing medical advice and some of the comments readers are making are just plain wrong and could be potentially harmful if followed. The measurements are incredibly important because when electrolyte levels get off some drinks can make things worse. Breast-milk is best for anyone still nursing. Anyone not nursing you can use this recipe, but a careful eye should be kept on your child. My hubby is a pediatrician and our three year old ended up in the hospital last winter because a nasty stomach bug had her puking so bad she could keep nothing down. In less than 24 hours she had become unresponsive and my husband rushed her to the emergency room. It doesn’t take much to get seriously messed up when you only weigh 28lbs. Be careful folks and if at all in doubt please contact your health care provider.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Jaclyn. I am not sure off hand. Since coconut sugar is a lower glycemic sugar, it will hit the blood stream a little slower. I guess it would depend on the circumstance. ~Amy

  50. I travel through developing countries quite often, and this is an essential recipe. I actually learned to make it a few years ago from a WHO handout. It’s come in useful numerous times. It’s great for helping keep hydrated when suffering from intestinal infections, dengue, malaria or just a common parasite.

  51. This is funny! For years I thought this was the only recipe to rehydrate! I’m from brazil and this is what my mom used to make since there was no pedialyte back then, I’m sure they have it now, just amazes me how we are so dependent on doctors that we forget how our grandparents used to do it without all the convenience…

      1. I know it is not natural but I feel that it is better than other products out there. Our products are created and used by some of the best doctors in the world. They are also tested for any impurities.

      2. Do you sell AdvoCare??? Advertising for this product on a real food blog that is providing a chemical, preservative & dye free alternative to commercial rehdrater is sketchy, especially when you don’t disclose it.

      3. I use and sell advocare to my friends and family. I am not here to advertise on this site. I added it as an alternative for others because I use it and it has worked for us and others I know. I also trust the doctors that create the products, especially Dr. Stanley Dudrick.

  52. The same ingredients work in a cup of herbal tea. My kids have been enjoying this “get-well tea” for years. We like peppermint or chamomile tea, but any tea will work… even black tea. To make one cup, put in a pinch of salt and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar. Yummy!

  53. Hi thank you so much for posting this recipe, my 93 year old mother has been very ill and I am afraid she might be getting dehydrated. I was just getting ready to send my son-in-law to 24 hour Walmart to buy some Pedialyte. I remembered seeing/reading somewhere about this drink being used. I am so glad I found your post tonight a 12:30 AM

  54. Found your website when I googled pedialight. I have several Min. Schnauzers my youngest (3 years old)was extremely sick 2 months ago. She would not eat anything and threw up her meds, took her to the vet- $375 later, 2 xrays, blood work & antibiotics brought her home. She just lay there occasionaly moaning a bit. Called vet who said she probably wouldn’tmake it, now 6days no food just sips water. I gave her orange pedialight by bulb syringe oraly tep. at a time as she kept it down. I woke early & she indicated need to go out- flooded the grass in her spot! As soon as I brought her inside she went to her food bowl and woofed- like WHERE is my BREAKFAST. WIthin 2 days back to normal. I cook Dr. Michael Fox’s home made stew for all 3 dogs they never leave a bit. Will make my own w/o.j. and freese it in tiny ice cubes for all of us. Thank you for a great site.

  55. I have used this recipe when I was sick and felt so much better. My ds (10 years old) says it tastes good with a splash of oj. Thanks for the recipe. I never have pedialyte when we really need it and I always end up throwing most of it away.

    And great idea to use as a sports drink instead of gatorade.

  56. I could never get my kids to drink store-bought pedialyte. I added some lemon juice to this recipe and my 3 year old likes it.

  57. This was a great recipe – thank you for publishing it. I did talk to my pediatrician and she said the WHO has updated their recipe to add zinc as it helps the body absorb the sodium and sugars it needs for hydration. She recommended adding a zinc tab to each batch. You can get the over-the-counter tablets, which will dissolve in water, at any pharmacy or superstore.

  58. Thanks so much! Every once in a while when I’m dehydrated I drink pedialite but this is so much easier and better. I had some hibiscus tea that I made into unsweetened iced tea and used that instead of water. It turned out really well!

  59. I have heard so many bad things about refined sugar I do not understand how anyone could say to use that to help a sick child. Refined sugar offers zero electrolytes and zero nutrition. One needs to replace the electrolytes lost through vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, they need to hydrate the child since the vomiting and diarrhea left the child dehydrated. Some of the other postings offered alternatives to refined sugar.

    I do not think the Food and Drug Administration is doing their job. For example, Red China has zero food standards and there are now many “food” items from Red China on USA grocery shelves. The BBC ran an article on how rich people will not buy food in China but grow all their own or import it. I went looking for dried garlic in a grocery store and their dried garlic was all from China. We grow plenty of garlic in this country excuse me. One can see why the unemployment rate is so high in this country the way other countries like China, etc are treated like they are in the USA when they most certainly are not and have their products sold in grocery stores but USA products are not.

  60. I make an electrolyte drink using 1 cup coconut water, 1 cup filtered water, 2tbs honey, 1/8 tsp sea salt and frozen organic strawberries for flavor. The honey is a better form of sugar and mixing the coconut water with filtered water adds the electrolytes without the taste of coconut water, plus you add the sea salt or Pink Himalayan salt which is better than table salt.

  61. I’m trying to make an electrolyte replacement powder that I can add to my water while backpacking (so no fresh citrus). What about True Lemon powder, coconut sugar, and salt? From what I’ve found online the ingredients in True Lemon seem ok? Does anyone have experience with this product?

    1. Jennifer,

      Your post very much interested me! My family is very active with hiking, biking and backpacking and I am also in search of a natural alternative to products like Nuun and Cytomax, etc.

      Would you be willing to share your powder ‘recipe’ with me? I would not know where to begin with the quantity of each ingredient.

      Thank you so much!

      PS: Thank you, Lisa, for being such a great resource for helping me change the way my family eats! You have been such a blessing!

  62. We don’t have pedialyte here in the Netherlands, Electrolyte drinks are only given in hospitals and are NOT available without a prescription. ORS is standard here, so out goes the poor country theory >.<
    And reading the label of the pedialyte I think it's just marketing to be honest….

  63. You should not be using “sugar” in this. Table sugar (sucrose) will draw more water in to the digestive tract and can make diarrhea worse.

    Cut ripe bananas in to chunks and freeze them. You can add a few pieces in to the water and blend.

  64. Thanks for the recipe! Glad to have it on file.

    I did want to chime in that my daughter has some very unusual dietary restrictions due to various allergies and sensitivities, and coconut water has literally been a godsend. There have been times over this last year that it literally helped to keep her alive. Not only does her body accept it, but it craves it and it has helped her to become healthier. If she is dehydrated it has been extremely effective for her. Not all brands are created equal; in our case C2O has been our standby.

  65. The best time to get them to drink something is just after they have been sick in the first 10 minutes or so. That’s when they feel the best and the nausea is less. If you wait then they are feeling nauseous and won’t take a drink.

  66. Thank you so much for posting this! I am pregnant and am having low blood pressure issues. My OB told me to drink Gatorade or Pedialyte for the electrolytes, but like you, I questioned all of the “extras” and the load of sugar that is in Gatorade. I don’t drink that stuff normally, I really don’t want to while pregnant! She had no other options for me! I chose not to drink either, tried Coconut water, and a friend mentioned surely I could make my own somehow, then today you posted this. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Holly, i just wanted to respond to your post, i was concerned that a doctor would suggest those drinks, but then again im pretty dirty on the fact it seems alot of doctors are taking the easy way out, anyway i wanted to let you know you can make a drink called labouraide i drank it at the end of my last pregnacy and had planned on making some for labour but baby decided to come before i got to making more. here is the link, hope this helps :)

  67. I have started using smart water. Same idea, it has the electrolytes, but no artificial ingredients like flavor or sweetener or color! :) It’s work wonderful with our son when he’s not feeling well!

  68. I’d love to know your thoughts on nuun? It is similar to gatorade/pedialyte/etc but I don’t think it has any of the corn syrup and junk. Thanks so much for this recipe! I’m on a high salt diet (unusual, I know) and it’s sometimes hard to get it all in without drinking sports drinks, but I don’t like all of the junk in sports drinks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Karen. We stick to natural hydration methods. I don’t know much about this product and could not find an ingredient list. What I did see reads like a supplement list which screams heavy processing. That is just my two cents and you certainly have to make your own evaluation based on your own dietary needs. All the best. ~Amy

  69. My son had stomach flu Saturday. I gave him orange juice mixed with water. As soon as he stopped vomiting, I gave him a banana. Worked like a charm. I once gave my daugher Gatorade (on advice of pediatrician) when she had diarrhea. She ended up in the hospital with dehydration for 3 days. The nurses (and a new pediatrician) told me at the hospital to NEVER use Gatorade or Pedialyte for diarrhea as these will cause worse diarrhea and dehydration due to high sugar content and other nasty ingredients in them. They said to make your own or use water with just a little OJ if it is a light case. This was years ago, before I switched to organic eating. Just FYI.

    1. Per the article:

      “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.”

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Shirley. Did you see this in the article: “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.” :) ~Amy

  70. This is good to know! My kids won’t even drink the pedialyte, even before I knew it contained the dyes. I am happy that you found an alternative and am thinking about adding a little apple juice to it because they will drink anything with apple juice since they are only allowed a small amount per day. Maybe the apple juice can replace the sugar and be sweet enough to balance the salt?

  71. When my 13 year old got a bad bug, think every possible problem, a friend of our brought over 2 items that worked wonders. Hylands Brand #11 pills for nausea, flu & vomiting. We use 3 little pills under the tongue. The other item was a bottle of essential oils from Heritage Essential Oils (online) which had a combo of clove, lemon,Cinnamon, eucalyptus, oregano, Radiata, rosemary & frankincense. My daughter got relief very quickly. Now, I keep those on hand and am addicted to many essential oils. Love them!

  72. I used this recipe a month ago when we found, and took in, a baby squirrel that fell from her nest. I didn’t want to go buy a whole container for just a few milliliters that the baby needed.

  73. If you add the orange juice, make sure that it is 100% juice (preferably organic) without additives. Alternatively, there is a company that sells essential oils that are simply wonderful! A few drops of the lemon or wild orange (or lemongrass, grapefruit, lime…you name it!) would make this much more palatable. I highly recommend the entire doTerra line of products!