Bananas are ubiquitous in smoothie recipes but what if you're allergic or you simply don't like them? Fortunately bananas aren't the only path to a thick, creamy smoothie. Here are several other healthy ingredients that can do the trick.

I myself am allergic to bananas and for years I skipped most smoothie recipes. Then I started experimenting. I realized in many cases you can actually substitute one of these ingredients for the banana called for in a recipe. Or you can use them to invent your own smoothies.

1. Oatmeal. The key to using oatmeal in a smoothie is to finely grind it first. Use about 1/4 cup of oatmeal powder to bulk up a smoothie.

2. Chia seeds. Chia seeds can act as a binding agent and thickener. Add 1 tablespoon to your blender or simply stir chia seeds into a smoothie and give it a minute to thicken.

3. Avocado. Avocado has a different flavor profile (and color!) than banana but it can be used to make a very creamy smoothie. Try 1/2 to 1 avocado per smoothie.

4. Frozen fruit. Frozen fruit can thicken a smoothie and provide natural sweetness. Try mango, peach, or young coconut for extra creaminess.

5. Yogurt. Any kind of yogurt can make a smoothie creamy but if you're after a thick smoothie, use drained or Greek-style yogurt.

6. Silken tofu. Silken tofu has a neutral flavor and smooth, creamy texture that works great in smoothies. It also provides protein.

Do you have any other suggestions to share?