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Pedialyte is a lifesaver, especially to parents of small children. Pediatricians around the world use it as their number one rehydration method when fluids are lost through vomiting and diarrhea. It helps people recover faster and raises the chances of avoiding the needle that comes with IV bags.
While you can buy Pedialyte and sports drinks, many people prefer to avoid these commercial options. Part of the reason is due to chemical food colorings and flavorings. Another is that it can be expensive. Thankfully, it is straightforward to make at home while still providing the electrolytes and glucose required.
The basic ingredients to making Pedialyte are simple and easy to source. However, there are many alternatives that can improve the taste. Just remember this isn’t the time for sugar-free, salt-free, and other diet alternatives. The body needs to recover the essential salt and carbohydrates lost from illness.
Do keep in mind that not all substitutes may be appropriate for your situation, so do talk to your doctor. For example, babies under 12 months must avoid honey. Also, those undergoing cancer treatment sometimes must avoid foods such as citrus. Lastly, it is crucial to consult the doctor first if there are any kidney issues.
- 5 cups water
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 tsp sugar
- 0.5 cup lemon juice Optional for flavoring/vitamin C
- Boil water vigorously for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat.
- Add salt and sugar.
- Allow to cool.
- Serve in glass.
Notes & Tips
- The homemade Pedialyte can be kept in the fridge for 48 hours.
- Freezing it into popsicles sometimes makes it easier for people to consume and keep down. This can especially be true for children, people with sore throats, and those being treated for cancer.
- Do not add the sugar to the water before boiling. This can cause unwanted caramelization.
- If you do not have a way to heat the water, bottled water is advised.
- If, for whatever reason, you have concerns about the safety of the water available, please see the EPA advice on what to do to ensure it is safe for consumption.
The general advice for older children and adults is 1 cup fluid to replace every cup lost. However, for small children under 24 months, it is advised to start with a ¼ cup. Slightly older children can begin with ½ a cup.
If the person has vomited, wait 10 minutes before serving. Then, have them take sips rather than gulp.
If the person only has diarrhea, they can eat some food while drinking the homemade Pedialyte. Recommended foods are soft, diluted, and easy to digest, such as:
- Bone broth
- Carrot soup
- Baby rice
- Thinned oatmeal and other cooked cereals
It is important not to fully replace the water in Pedialyte. Instead, it needs to be diluted to ease its absorption and digestion.
You can use a splash up to 2 ½ cups of the following:
- Coconut water
- Orange juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
- Cranberry juice
- Apple juice
- Green tea
You do not need to boil safe substitutes from your fridge, such as orange juice or coconut water. Instead, you may add them to the other ingredients once they have been mixed.
The water substitutions can be mixed and matched. For example, some people enjoy adding ¼ cup of lemon with their juice of choice.
Sugar is an essential ingredient in Pedialyte. If you have concerns due to having a condition such as diabetes, talk to your doctor. But generally, sugar is a non-replaceable ingredient.
Sugar does, however, come in other forms. Thus, you can exchange the 6 tsp with the following:
Again, honey is not suitable for children under 12-months.
Salt is an essential ingredient to Pedialyte. While low-salt diets are generally advised for many reasons, the body has lost a crucial mineral through vomiting or diarrhea.
However, you may substitutive table salt for Himalayan, Kosher, or sea salt if you prefer. The important part is that they all contain sodium chloride.
While salt is essential, it is important not to add extra to the recipe. Just as too little salt is a problem, too much can also be harmful.
When combating nausea, some additions might help. Popular home remedies to add to the Pedialyte can include:
- ¼ tsp baking soda
Children must be over 24-months old to have ginger.
Pedialyte is useless if the ill person won’t drink it. You can add various power additives to help it taste better. Some are healthier than others. But sometimes, it is more about getting it into the ill person rather than standard nutritional ideals. These are additives to the recipes, not replacements. Thus, sugar-free options will keep the recipe at the correct balance.
- ½ pack sugar-free Kool-Aid
- 2 tsp flavored sugar-free Jell-O gelatin powder
- Crystal Light, sugar-free
Pedialyte is a popular way to rehydrate after having too much fun the night before. It is not a cure for your life choices, but it will replenish the electrolytes lost, speeding up recovery. We recommend using homemade Pedialyte in the morning, along with eating Chicken Souse Soup when you’re ready for some food besides toast.
Also, while you feel ill, you are technically not sick. This means you have some greater flexibility with the modifications. However, as with those fighting off pathogens, you still need to keep in mind that sugar and salt are essential. This is not the time for low-calorie substitutes.
But you can use any juice that sounds good to you in your fragile state. Also, feel free to replace the sugar with blackstrap molasses, as it is high in magnesium, something your body could use. Lastly, you don’t need to boil the water or even use plain water.
Water Substitutes For Hangover Pedialyte
If plain water sounds too bland, that’s fine. For a hangover, you can even have bubbles. However, you need to make sure you choose something with minerals, so most seltzer water is out. Thus, consider options such as:
- Soda water
- Tonic Water
- Sparkling mineral water
Thus, you can turn it into a virgin cocktail of tonic water, a pinch of Himalayan salt, with some lemon juice, ginger, and black strapped molasses.