If you’re an athlete, more than likely you’ve tried Gatorade, but due to the sugars and chemicals this popular drink contains, I thought I would share with you some great alternatives to Gatorade that are much healthier for you. Many people turn to Gatorade because they don’t think they have other options, or it just seems convenient. After all, the popular drink appears on national sports commercials and is even featured at many sponsored professional games. Just because it is highly advertised doesn’t mean it is healthy though. Sure it might do the job, but along with fake sources of electrolytes, you’re also getting in a dose of food dyes, chemicals, preservatives and tons of processed sugar. Leave the processed energy drinks at home and try some of these effective alternatives to Gatorade instead.
1. Coconut Water
Coconut water has been called “Nature’s Gatorade” by some in the health food community, and it truly is one of the best alternatives to Gatorade you can choose. Coconut water is extremely high in potassium, one of the most important and best known ingredients in Gatorade. Potassium keeps your muscles from cramping, prevents fatigue and prevents water from building up, which can create heaviness and bloat that steals your energy. Potassium also helps balance out the sodium levels in your body and coconut water is the most natural source of potassium you can drink. It also contains natural sugars that won't spike your blood sugar, but will keep you energized.
2. Vega Sugar Free Sport Energizer
Vega, which is a vegan sports and nutritional company used by many Olympic athletes, other professionals and everyday people, has just released a brand new sugar-free energizer that is amazing! I know, because I’ve tried it thanks to the folks at Vega for letting me do a review on my blog. This sugar-free energizer is full of highly energizing and nourishing ingredients, minerals and adaptogens. It features green tea, ginseng, Yerba-mate tea, Devil's claw and coconut seed oil to enhance energy, sodium and potassium from whole food sources to prevent fatigue and muscle cramps, and ginger and turmeric to prevent inflammation. It comes in two delicious flavors, including Acai Berry and Lemon-Lime, all for just 5 calories and no sugar whatsoever. You can buy it online or in stores, wherever Vega products are located and also learn more here: vegasport.com.
3. Fresh Juice
Fresh fruit and veggie juice is not usually thought of as a workout aid, but let me tell you, it should be! Fresh fruit and veggie juice is one of the best things to drink right before or after a workout. It has tons of live enzymes, natural sodium and potassium, and is so energizing! Plus, since it digests easy, you won’t have any issues with that, and it is incredibly hydrating. Great ingredients to use are beets, which enhance oxygen production during exercise, lemons to reduce acidity and inflammation, spinach and kale to add chlorophyll for energy and to prevent inflammation, ginger for digestion and to prevent inflammation, pineapple to give you a natural source of sugars that also enhance digestion and prevent muscle fatigue, celery that contains natural sodium, and cucumbers which are rich in potassium.
4. Green Smoothies
Another option to use instead of raw juice is a green smoothie about an hour before you work out. Green smoothies are powerhouses of energy and nutrition. Use a little fruit for natural sugars, lots of leafy greens for fiber and protein, and a little added protein powder from a quality source if you need it. Chia seeds are also great to use in smoothies an hour before you work out since they digest easily and are well known for energizing and sustaining you for longer periods of time. Green smoothies also make excellent post-workout recovery drinks.
Believe it or not, simple raisins are a great snack to eat before you work out. They have every nutrient you need that Gatorade provides, but added fiber that is easy to digest. Raisins include natural sources of sugar, loads of potassium, manganese that provides energy to cells, natural enzymes that help nutrients absorb into your body, and iron to prevent fatigue. Just a little box of raisins can make for one powerful snack before your workout. Try to eat them around 30 minutes or so before working out, and keep servings small so you don’t get full off the high sugar content. A few dates are a great alternative. Eating a small handful after a workout is also great to restore your glycogen levels.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
My favorite energy drink is such an easy one, which is apple cider vinegar diluted into a glass of water with lemon, stevia and ginger. I shake this up every morning before a workout and it works in some pretty amazing ways. Apple cider vinegar is rich in potassium, live enzymes and it prevents your blood sugar from spiking. It is known for its ability to eliminate joint pain and reduce inflammation as well. Apple cider vinegar has also been said to be energizing when mixed with a little honey, so feel free to try that too. It is so tasty, incredibly energizing, and replenishes your body with tons of nutrients. Be sure you buy the raw organic kind to get the effects though.
Don’t forget the humble banana as a great replacement to Gatorade, girls! Bananas are a great source of potassium which, again, is so essential to your workout success and recovery. Bananas are also rich in B vitamins that give you energy, and the fiber will digest very easily compared to other fruits. Bananas are also rich in prebiotics that boost digestion and prevent bloating, plus they reduce stress and inflammation, which is a plus too!
I hope you won’t feel the need to buy Gatorade or energy drinks again after reading this since there are some tasty and incredibly easy sources you can use instead. Do you have a favorite pre-workout drink?