Healthy Devils: Electrolyte drink recipes for staying hydrated

Homemade electrolyte drinks are healthier than store-bought ones & easy to make.
Ready to hit the trail in (slightly) cooler weather? Stay hydrated; here's how.
November 13, 2017

Editor's Note: This is the second installment in an ASU Now series featuring nutritious recipes demonstrated by faculty from the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, an academic unit of ASU’s College of Health Solutions. Find the first installment, about overnight oats, here.

It’s already November, and students at ASU have celebrated the homecoming game, indulged their pumpkin spice cravings and rescued their snuggly hoodies from the deep recesses of their closets. But they probably haven’t donned them just yet — although all signs point to fall, the temperatures in Tempe, Arizona, remain steadfastly north of 80 degrees on average.

High temperatures can be an issue when you’re competing in outdoor sports, as many students who participate in Sun Devil sports clubs do. Loss of electrolytes through sweat can happen more quickly, making it especially important to replenish them.

“When dehydrated, the body can overheat more easily, which can lead to heatstroke,” said Simin Levinson, ASU clinical assistant professor of nutrition.

In addition, dehydration can affect mood, reduce energy levels, cause muscle cramps and headaches, and may even reduce cognitive function.

Levinson, who also works as a consulting nutritionist for the Phoenix Suns, teaches a course at ASU on sports nutrition in which her students engage in a peer-to-peer exchange with students participating in ASU club sports by providing them with nutrition guidelines to ensure they’re maintaining an overall state of good health and performing at peak athletic ability.

The exchange benefits both parties.

“My students benefit by gaining experience in preparing and delivering nutrition presentations and handout materials,” Levinson said, “and the club sport student-athletes benefit from the nutrition information and practical tips.”

One of the best tips is also one of the most obvious: Stay hydrated. It’s also great advice for students who feel themselves succumbing to cold and flu season as electrolytes can be lost through diarrhea and vomiting associated with illness.

And although it may be tempting to reach for a store-bought sports drink, making your own is both better for you and easy to do — even in a dorm-room setting.

“Homemade electrolyte drinks are made with familiar and natural ingredients and are free of artificial colors and artificial flavors,” Levinson said. “They’re a great way to naturally replenish electrolytes.”

A self-described “recreational athlete,” she often makes her own rehydrating electrolyte drinks at home to refuel after a hike. They’re so easy, her teenage daughter started making them for her softball practices.

Here, Levinson shares four rehydrating electrolyte drink recipes you can try out yourself.

 

Lime Coconut 

 

Ingredients:

1–2 limes, juiced

1 cup water

2 cups coconut water

2 tbsp. maple syrup

¼ tsp. salt

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or jar. Stir or shake until well-blended. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

 

Lemon Ginger

 

Ingredients:

1 lemon, juiced

3 cups mineral water

1 ginger chunk, grated

2 tsp. agave nectar

¼ tsp. salt

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or jar. Stir or shake until well-blended. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

 

Green Tea and Juice

Ingredients:

2 cups green tea

½ cup pomegranate juice

2 tbsp. honey

¼ tsp. salt

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or jar. Stir or shake until well-blended. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

 

Cucumber Cooler

 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. lime juice

2 cups water

2 sprigs mint, muddled

2 tsp. agave nectar

¼ tsp. salt

Cucumber slices to taste

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or jar. Stir or shake until well-blended. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Emma Greguska

Reporter , ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

 
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Overnight oats are full of fiber, easy to make and budget-friendly.
August 31, 2017

School of Nutrition and Health Promotion faculty demonstrate simple, nutritious recipes that anyone can make

Editor's note: This is the first installment in an occasional series featuring nutritious recipes demonstrated by faculty from the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, an academic unit of ASU’s College of Health Solutions.

The dreaded “freshman 15” weight gain is based on the notion that students adjusting to a sudden lifestyle change don’t always make the best food choices. But eating healthy can be a challenge throughout college, especially if you’re living in a dorm or on limited means; stoves, expensive ingredients and the time it takes to make nutritious meals are luxuries the average college student doesn’t always have.

Jessica Lehmann knows that from personal experience. During her time at Wesleyan University, she resorted to time-honored — and nutritionally questionable — dorm room staples like pizza, bagels and noodles.

“I don’t think I ate a vegetable for a few years,” she recalled, not at all wistfully.

Now, as a lecturer at ASU’s School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Lehmann wants students to know that they don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a balanced diet.

“Simple foods you can make at home are the best,” she said. “And you don’t have to be a gourmet chef.”

To put proof in the pudding, Lehmann demonstrated a simple recipe for ASU Now that uses everyday, affordable ingredients and requires virtually no culinary skills.

“Overnight oats is a good make-ahead breakfast or snack to get students off to a good start,” Lehmann said. “It’s rich in fiber, budget-friendly and doesn’t use heat.”

Students can use their dorm fridge to make it, and they can throw in whatever fruit they bring back from the dining hall for added nutritional value.

To make overnight oats, combine equal parts oats, yogurt and milk in a container (yogurt is optional but Lehmann said it gets students into a good habit of incorporating probiotics into their diet; if you decide not to use yogurt, double the amount of milk so the oats have enough liquid to absorb). Then place the container in the fridge — you guessed it — overnight.

When you take it out in the morning, the oats will have softened in the liquid. Then comes the fun part: Add whatever natural flavors, sweeteners, fruits or seeds you like. Lehmann suggests trying nut butter, vanilla, cinnamon, honey or locally produced date syrup as flavorings and sweeteners.

If you’re using dried fruits or chia seeds, it’s best to add them before putting the mixture in the refrigerator so they can get soft and chewy with the oats. If you’re using fresh fruits or other seeds and nuts, add them right before eating.

All of these things are just suggestions, though.

“You can customize it according to your taste buds and you don’t have to use all the ingredients,” Lehmann said. “That’s the beauty of it.”

Overnight oats will keep well in a refrigerator for two to three days.

As a teacher of subjects like nutrition communication, healthy cuisine and human nutrition, Lehmann may be at the front of the classroom now but those late nights studying and early morning exams are still all too fresh in her memory.

“Students don’t think about what’s healthy, they think about being full or getting caffeine,” she said. “And I sympathize with my students. I get it. (Lehmann was late to her first college exam, which started at 8am, because she overslept.) But it’s better to reach for healthy food when you’re up late studying.”

Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

 

Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

½ cup rolled oats

½ cup plain yogurt (optional; if leaving out, make sure to double the amount of milk to provide enough liquid for the oats to soak in)

½ cup milk of your choice

Possible additions (all optional; be creative!):

1-2 tablespoon nut or seed butter (peanut, almond, sunflower, etc.)

½ cup sliced fruit (could be fresh, frozen or dried; try raisins, bananas, apples, berries, etc.)

½ to 1 teaspoon sweetener (honey, maple syrup, agave, brown sugar, date syrup, etc.)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1-2 tablespoons nuts or seeds (sliced almonds, raw cashews, etc.)

Sprinkle of cinnamon

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine the oats, yogurt and milk in a bowl or container. Add nut butter, vanilla and cinnamon if you’re using them. If you’re using chia seeds or dried fruit, it’s best to add them now so they can soak up the liquid and become soft and chewy along with the oats. You could add frozen fruit now too. If you’re using bananas, you could add them now or right before you eat the oats. Avoid adding any other kinds of fresh fruit, nuts or seeds until right before you want to eat them. Mix well and allow to chill in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, the oats will have softened in the liquid. Add the fresh fruit, nuts or seeds. Add the sweetener. Stir the overnight oats well so that you get oats and lots of delicious flavor and texture in every bite.