Quantcast

Homemade Gatorade Concentrate and Healthy Foods at Summer Camp

by Deliciously Organic on August 7, 2013

Homemade Gatorade Concentrate via www.DeliciouslyOrganic.net

School lunches have gotten some much-deserved attention lately. We don’t often hear about food served to kids at other venues like summer camps, though. We go to Missouri each summer so the kids can attend a sports kamp called Kanakuk Kamps. Last year I shared how I packed my kids’ food for the entire week because there aren’t many options when it comes to unprocessed or gluten-free foods. Packing everything was an expensive chore (over $300!), but it was important to Pete and I that our kids felt great and continued eating unprocessed foods while at camp.*

After going through that experience, I decided to ask Kanakuk if I could help them with a one-day test featuring less-processed foods and new recipes. I offered to pay the difference for the food and work alongside the kitchen staff for the day. I was thrilled they agreed!

After discussing with the leadership, we set two goals for the day:
1. No trans-fats
2. No food dyes or artificial coloring

I rewrote the menus, sent in my list of foods to order, and arrived bright and early last Friday to get to work.

Here was the menu:
Breakfast:
Scrambled Eggs with Bacon (I used this recipe minus the cheese)
Cantaloupe
Plain Whole Yogurt sweetened with a bit of honey
Yogurt Toppings – seeds, coconut flakes, frozen/thawed berries

Lunch:

Marinated, Grilled Chicken
Green Beans
Mashed Potatoes (I used the recipe from my cookbook)
Romaine with Homemade Ranch Dressing
Cantaloupe

Dinner:
Marinated, Grilled Flank Steak (sliced thin after grilling)
Grilled Bell Peppers and Red Onions
Blanched Broccoli with Butter and Sea Salt
Romaine with Homemade Ranch Dressing
Partially thawed fruit with Homemade Magic Shell (this dessert was a huge hit!)

It was such a joy to feed the kids and staff a day of unprocessed foods and teach how to use less processed foods. The total increase in cost for each meal was $.75 a child. So, for about $2.25 a day, we could possibly change all the menus to unprocessed foods for the camp. If you were a parent, would you pay an additional $15.75 for a 7-day camp if you knew your child would eat healthier foods?

Does your child go to summer camp? Have you ever considered what they eat every day? I encourage you to ask questions and try to help camps serve healthier foods. We can make a difference!

Gatorade is often served at sports camps and practices. This drink contains food dyes and processed sugars, so I called my brother (a coach at the University of Kentucky) and he sent me over a homemade recipe for a “sports drink”. It was the perfect substitute for the processed drink and the kids didn’t know the difference! This recipe is in a concentrate form, so you can keep a batch of it in the fridge and then add 1-2 teaspoons to 8 ounces of water. It’s a great way to replace fluids and electrolytes while staying away from artificial colors and preservatives.

*Years ago when our kids ate all the food at Kanakuk, they would come home with breakouts of eczema, rashes and tummy aches. After discussing with the kids, they chose for us to bring our own food, so they wouldn’t have to deal with the after-effects of the more processed foods.

UPDATE: I’m sad to say, despite my best efforts and the positive response from the campers and counselors, Kanakuk has decided not to serve healthier foods to campers. I’m not sure what their reasoning was, but I did get an email that they declined. I hope they will reconsider in the future.

Homemade Gatorade Concentrate

Serving Size: Makes about 2 quarts

Homemade Gatorade Concentrate

I tested this with both fresh juice (unpasteurized) and a bottled organic pasteurized juice and they both tasted great. Brands such as Eden Foods or Lakewood are great options.

Ingredients

    For the concentrate:
  • 1/2 cup juice (I used cherry)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt or any other unrefined sea salt

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over low, stirring occasionally until honey and salt is dissolved. Pour into a glass container and store in the refrigerator. If you use a fresh juice (unpasteurized) it will keep for about 4 days in the fridge. If you use a pasteurized juice it will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

To serve: Stir 1-2 teaspoons concentrate into 8 ounces water (if you prefer a stronger flavor add an additional teaspoon or two) or mix all of the concentrate with two quarts of water.

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your costs will be the same but Deliciously Organic will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site. We appreciate your support!

Love this content? Sign up for updates…it’s FREE!

Related posts:

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie August 7, 2013 at 10:18 am

Love Love Love this post!! I just got done volunteering for my kids’ VBS at church this week. Breakfast and lunch was served each day to all of the volunteers. While I was very grateful for the meals made for me , it was horrifying to see that 95% of the food served was processed food: store-bought muffins, frozen fish sticks, boxed macaroni. This post has inspired me to see what I can do to help change this for next year!

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

I’m so glad the post was helpful! I hope you can help begin to make some changes at your VBS for next year! :)

Reply

Grace S. August 7, 2013 at 10:53 am

LOVE your camp story! What might you recommend for a substitute for honey. My son is allergic to it?

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm

You could use a dry sweetener such as coconut sugar or maybe even maple syrup.

Reply

Karen August 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

I, too, have had the experience of packing a weeks worth of food and sending my son off to camp. It was a lot of work, but one I would do all over again. The funny thing is, all his friends were begging to eat what he had. I contacted the camp two weeks before he went and asked for their menu, ugh, don’t do that unless you are really going to do something about it. It was frightening what they were feeding the kids. I made the necessary substitutions for meals he couldn’t eat and snacks. His favorite item I sent was your recipe for chicken nuggets with ranch dressing, grain free of course. He would have eaten them every day :o)

Reply

Kelly @ The Nourishing Home August 7, 2013 at 11:17 am

Love, love, love this … it’s why you are truly a blessing to so many! I really wish we lived closer. I am so inspired by your heart for going out and making healthy change happen through volunteering and taking part in your community and others. Sounds like project sports kamp meals-makeover was a huge hit! Lots of blessings to you!! :) Kelly

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Thanks, Kelly! I wish we lived closer too! It was such fun to work with this camp and I’m thrilled that places like these are willing to open the door to new possibilities!

Reply

T August 7, 2013 at 11:19 am

What kind of juice (brands) are good choices without added sugar? How can you know if you are getting JUST fruit juice and juice that’s not from concentrate?

Reply

Amanda August 21, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Why is juice from concentrate bad? I assume the concentration/re-hydration process damages the nutrients but is there more to it than that?

Reply

Holly Houg August 7, 2013 at 11:58 am

That is awesome that you chose to take the initiative for making a days worth of meals for all the kids at camp! That is SO cool that you were brave enough to ask and willing to pay for the difference! The world needs more people like you to help everyone know that you can feed mass amounts of people without using processed food!

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Thanks, Holly! I was thrilled for the opportunity to work with them. It was a great experience for both sides and I truly hope I can do more work like this in the future!

Reply

Alyssa (Everyday Maven) August 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm

This is awesome! My son is still too young for camp but I really admire you getting out there and showing them how real food is realistic! And, I for one, would happily pay an extra $15 for real food!

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Thank you! It was a privilege to work with them and I hope I can do it again soon!

Reply

d August 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm

My question is
When your kids get big enough to put down 2 footlongs or 2 hamburgers with sides, in a single setting, what do you feed them to fill them up? Even then, they will be hungry again in 2 hours.

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I’ve found that traditional, nourishing foods such as pastured meats, plenty of traditional fats (butter, coconut oil, lard, ghee, etc.), vegetables, some fruits, pastured dairy, nuts and seeds seem to work pretty well to fill kids up. Eating a bit less grain, as little sugar as possible and more nourishing meats and fats can help satiate and the kids might actually find their appetite decreases b/c their insulin levels are more steady. That’s just my personal take. Everyone I’ve talked to that eats this kind of diet finds their appetite decreases and they can go longer in between meals. I can say the teenage boys at the camp LOVED the menus that day! :)

Reply

Jennifer August 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I have found since I’ve switched to whole, nutritional dense food I’m not as hungry as I used to be and have more energy in the day. I only drink raw milk (if at all) and lots of veggies, nuts, seeds, pasture raised meats in moderation. My sugar consumption is low and I don’t drink much juice at all.

Reply

Lori B. August 8, 2013 at 8:41 am

My boys are like the above and can just pack down the food. No toddler finger food here! I noticed that when I make nutritionally dense foods for them, they eat less and less frequent. When I let them get a hold of a box of crackers, they will plow through it and come to me saying they are starving. Take out the junk food and concentrate on lower grains, high protein & veg. Success!

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

Great advice! :)

Reply

sharolyn patty August 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm

thanks for this encouraging food message.

Reply

Tatiana August 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

The whole foods part is great, but it is filled with animal products. What about the kids who are vegetarian/vegan?

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

The goal of the day was to use less processed foods and also eliminate food dyes and transfats. While it would be nice to also cater to every kind of diet, this wasn’t on the agenda. I stuck with traditional, nourishing foods to fuel the kids that day. Maybe in the future if I’m able to do more work with this camp they can look into catering to certain diets.

Reply

Tatiana August 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Thanks so much for responding! Unfortunately if my child had been there, he would not have had a lot to eat (and at home we eat a whole foods plant based diet – no processed foods, food dyes, trans fats, etc.), so it is definitely something to consider for the future. Hopefully you can do more there :)

Reply

Shannon August 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm

This is incredible. I would really like to know what kinds of juice do you pick. How do I know which ones to get? I don’t want to ruin the whole point of this by getting the wrong kind of juice.

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm

We used an orange juice at camp, but it was being served that day, so it was a good economical choice. I prefer to stick with fresh juices (unpasteurized), or if you want the concentrate to last in the fridge for a bit longer, I would look for an organic juice without any sugars.

Reply

Graciela August 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Thank you for sharing this recipe. We will be starting soccer in the fall and this will be a good way to dehydrate from all the running my son will be doing. How long with the gatorate concentrate last in the fridge? Also any particular brand of juice to buy? Can you use sea salt if I can’t buy celtic salt? Any other recommendations?

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 6:41 am

I prefer to use fresh juice, but of course, it doesn’t last quite as long in the fridge. I used Kdunsen Organic Tart Cherry Juice as a test and it lasted 2 weeks in the fridge. I would look for a juice that doesn’t have any added sugars, flavorings or coloring. Another great brand of salt is “Real Salt”. I prefer to use a good quality sea salt that hasn’t been processed (if it’s pure white, it’s probably been processed/bleached).

Reply

Michelle August 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm

You had me at “homemade Gatorade concentrate.” I am definitely making a batch of this and keeping it in the fridge. I love everything else about this idea and this menu, too. Thank you!

Reply

lara August 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm

that is so so wonderful. I am going to send the article to my childrens school who I am working with to change their tuckshop and what they offer cildren when they go away.

Just a quick question-why are the potatos in water.

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 6:37 am

The potatoes were in water because they were about to be boiled to make mashed potatoes.

Reply

Katie August 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Was this a Kanakuk kamp?? We just got back from the week long family kamp and my husband and I were just saying we wish there was a more healthy selection. (Less processed, more whole food)

Reply

Katie August 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm

We love Kanakuk :)

Reply

Deliciously Organic May 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I wanted you to know that despite my best efforts, Kanakuk has decided to continue serving processed foods at camp. I think now it’s time to start educating the parents so we come together and urge camp to change. If you could please write camp and let them know you would like to see changes it would be most appreciated! Thanks!

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

Yep. ;) Please write the kamp and let them know you’d like to see more whole foods! It was such fun to do a test run. :)

Reply

Laura August 23, 2013 at 1:25 am

My kids go to Kanakuk, too, so when I saw the hat in one of your photos, I was thrilled to see that they were willing to work with you on this experiment. I hope it means there will be some long term adjustments at *all* of their camps going forward and I will definitely write them to let them know I read this and support moving in that direction! Thank you.

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 23, 2013 at 7:58 am

It was a great experience! I’m thrilled they are open to thinking about healthy changes! And yes, please write them and let them know your thoughts. Thanks!

Reply

Deliciously Organic May 19, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Laura – I wanted you to know that despite my best efforts, Kanakuk has decided to continue serving processed foods at camp. I think now it’s time to start educating the parents so we come together and urge camp to change. If you could please write camp and let them know you would like to see changes it would be most appreciated! Thanks!

Reply

Jennifer August 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm

You can also make a vitamin water by filling a container with water and adding sliced watermelon and mint or cut up pineapple or berries.Chill overnight and you’ve got an instant sports drink!

Reply

jenny August 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Just curious, why do you spell camp with a k? Is that a particular organizational camp or something? I don’t mean any disrespect or anything, I’ve just never seen it spelled that way before!

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 6:36 am

This kamp spells it with a “k” so I kept with that spelling for this post. :)

Reply

jlo August 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm

What type of juice is recommended? They all seem to have sugar.

Reply

melissa August 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm

This sounds amazing? What kind of juice did you use? Was it something you did with a juicer or was it a store bought brand??

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 6:31 am

There were certain restrictions at the kamp, so while I would have preferred to use fresh juice we had to use pasteurized juice. We chose orange for that day, but at home I made it with cherry and both versions passed the kid test.

Reply

Kat August 7, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Hey! I love this post… you are such an inspiration. Keep the awesome ideas coming. Can you give me an idea where I can purchase the 5 divide plates for kids? What a great idea.

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 6:30 am

These belonged to the kitchen and I don’t know where they got them. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

Reply

Leigh August 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Why are you spelling camp with a k?

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 6:30 am

This kamp spells it with a “k”. :)

Reply

Leigh August 8, 2013 at 9:40 am

OK. I’m glad it isn’t because some giant corporation has copyrighted the word camp, or something. ;-)

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

Ha! Good point. That would be pretty bad if “camp” was copyrighted. :)

Reply

Kate@stillroomtogrow August 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Great idea!! I bet you are talking about Kanakuk kamp . I grew up going to kamp there as a kid. Loved it! Just found your blog and i am looking forward to following it.

Reply

Lori August 8, 2013 at 6:25 am

Why are you spelling camp with a “k”? Having a bit of trouble getting past that.

Thanks for clearing that up!

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 6:29 am

This kamp spells it with a “k”. :)

Reply

Kathleen August 8, 2013 at 6:52 am

Do you have any info on this divided round plates? That would be a great lunch
box for my son at school, but a plate like that would be good too. I know there are lots of divided plates available but the roundness looks really cool.

Reply

Lauren August 8, 2013 at 6:55 am

This is a great post! I will definitely be trying this concentrate recipe, how long do you keep it in the fridge?

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 7:38 am

A fresh (unpasteurized) juice will last about 4 days in the refrigerator, and a pasteurized juice will last about 2 weeks.

Reply

the urban baker August 8, 2013 at 7:13 am

What a simple solution, Carrie. Thanks for inspiring!! x

Reply

Elizabeth August 8, 2013 at 7:16 am

Carrie, I’ve loved your posts and recipes for years now. I’ve always been a whole food rather than processed food eater and just in the last few years I’ve gone completely grain free. I’m curious about your thoughts on the purpose of recipes that attempt to recreate processed junk in a healthier form. Some days I think that this is a fantastic approach and a great way to ween people off processed food. On other days I think that the better idea is to avoid “replacements”, i.e. instead of a homemade gatorade, just no gatorade at all; drink water. For myself, I know I just skip it and stick with water and hot herbal tea as my only beverages. For my kids, I tend to make the unprocessed versions of what their friends are eating so they don’t feel too left out. Again, I’m saying all of this because I’m curious about what your thoughts are about the two sides of this idea.

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 7:37 am

Thank you for the kind words. This is a topic I’ve thought of myself. I personally don’t mind recreating junk food with healthier ingredients as long as they are consumed in moderation. It’s fun, and while I could eat an apple for something sweet, it’s kinda nice to actually be able to have a slice of chocolate cake or a muffin every once in a while. Many who are just stepping into the world of unprocessed foods have a hard time imagining life without the favorites they’ve grown accustomed too so as long as they are eaten in moderation, I’m ok with it. I think it can actually help in the transition. In the early years of eating unprocessed foods, I baked quite a bit and now I’ll make a dessert or “recreate” something maybe once a month. I consulted with my brother about the issue of replacing electrolytes (he’s a huge advocate for unprocessed foods) and he sees merit in giving kids/athletes a drink that can help quickly replace electrolytes if they’ve been out in the hot temperatures. If I’ve been out in the heat, I will take 1/8 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt with some water to help replace electrolytes/minerals and this recipe is a much more fun version of that. :)

Reply

Michelle August 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Just made the Gatorade, using Lakewood’s tart cherry juice, and it’s a hit! I don’t drink very much water myself, so this will even encourage me to drink it more, since it IS mostly water. Thank you!

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed it! :)

Reply

Kerry August 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Where can I get those fabulous divided plates pictured?

Reply

Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic August 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Great idea, Carrie! You could pump up the electrolyte balance even more by using coconut water – or a coconut water powder … mega good for you.

What a difference you’ve made to so many kids, you are just inspiring :)
Axx

Reply

debi August 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm

OMG!!! You did not take on the entire camps menu???? I am speechless …. that takes such guts and such determination and such …. I don’t even know the word. LOL I am in awe of you and the lengths you go to to make a difference. I couldn’t even dream to take on such a task.

I am just starting to talk with my kids school about their lunch program and also with the scouts on their overnight trips. Both have horrible food choices (which is why you packed for your kids). We shouldn’t have to do this. We PAY for the camps, why can’t they provide meals that are nutritious? Why do our schools provide meals that I consider hazardous to my kids health?

You have given me the hope, the determination and the courage I needed to keep going forward Carrie! I thank you for that.

Reply

Cherie August 25, 2013 at 6:26 pm

What is a good price for pasture raised beef and chicken? I’m looking into buying 1/4 or 1/2 of a cow and the prices vary so much, and the only place I’ve ever bought chicken is organic from the grocery.

Reply

Deliciously Organic August 26, 2013 at 7:31 am

It sort of depends on where you live, but anywhere between $5-8 a pound is a good price for a bulk order.

Reply

Stephanie August 28, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Wow! Never even considered making homemade Gatorade before. My hubs loves his sodas. I’ve taken to making honey sweetened ginger ale. He’ll excited that this will be added to his homemade drink treats. I love that it’s sweetened with honey as well. We’ve been getting off the processed sugar mill over the last couple months

Reply

Kathryn September 5, 2013 at 10:24 am

Love it! Making K-7 a healthier place. I’m so proud of you and the great work you’re doing, Carrie!

Reply

Stacie September 5, 2013 at 8:54 pm

We tried this with grape and it was a big hit for our first soccer games. Thank you for giving us something that meets both my kids and my wishes. :)

Reply

Deliciously Organic September 6, 2013 at 6:32 am

You’re welcome! I’m so glad they all enjoyed it!

Reply

Riya@Sprout'd September 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Fabulous and easy!! I tired it with watermelon and it was so refreshing. Thanks!

Reply

Angie November 27, 2013 at 6:03 am

Hi, I am home from work with a stomach bug that has led me to becoming a toilet seat warmer to say it nicely. My husband wants me to take Imodium and drink poweraid but that’s not my thinking so I just whipped up your recipe and I have been putting a essiential oil mixture on my tummy.

I am wondering if you could make the concertante and freeze it. Would it last and keep the nutrients needed? I live out in the country and based on how sick we get a drive to the store for juice isn’t always a option. I also thought the ice cubes would be great to take to sick friends or friends with sick babies.

Reply

Deliciously Organic November 27, 2013 at 7:03 am

Sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well. This mixture should freeze nicely. Homemade chicken stock could also help your situation. :) http://deliciouslyorganic.net/homemade-chicken-stock-recipe/

Reply

Shawn May 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Egads! If parents knew the unbalanced meals over processed foods their kids were getting at the popular and many decades running camp I worked at a handful of years ago, they would be appalled! I was appalled that with my super high caloric use workload at the camp was being fed what I was (I mostly ate as many pears at each meal that I could. It was that bad.) and felt severely under nourished just trying to eat healthy and balanced. Many of our meals were starch on starch with some frozen veggies and a side of cheese. The unfortunate thing is I had worked at exactly the same camp 7 years before ( and then, two years I. A row!), and the food was completely different in quality. I went veggie for the summer all times due to not wanting to eat low grade mass butchered meats and even had a chef open to discussion and resources to create balanced nourished meals for all the veggie kids and workers at camp. Now, they are so clamped into exactly what they have to serve being exactly at every camp and ultimately to keep camp prices as low as possible, that the workers (3months eating bad diet) to kids suffer. It was awful and made me very sad and disillusioned to what’s happened at least in the Minnesota Girl Scout summer camp community.

Reply

Colleen July 1, 2014 at 7:30 am

If I buy organic juice concentrate, do I reconstitute it before making this?

Reply

Deliciously Organic July 1, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Yes, I would reconstitute before adding.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 4 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: