Let's face it: Investing in "growth" stocks carries greater risk than playing the "value" card. And arbitrary distinction though growth/value may be -- investors all want growth, after all -- there's actually sound reasoning behind that: When analysts assign 20% or more earnings-growth estimates over the next five years -- as they have for the likes of eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) -- and when investors bid up a stock accordingly, there's simply greater room for error if things go awry.

The bottom line is that growth stocks have farther to fall relative to more buttoned-down concerns, such as Citigroup (NYSE:C), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). These latter stocks have what the pros like to call more attractive multiples (i.e., ratios such as price-to-earnings and price-to-cash flow), but their upside potential isn't nearly as sweet. The solution? Smart investors build portfolios that provide carefully calibrated exposure to both equity flavors.

Not to worry
If, like many of us, you didn't exactly think about which way your latest stock pick was going to affect your portfolio's growth-value balance, don't sweat it. There's a surefire way for even the most aggressive of investors to put their portfolios on sound footing: mutual funds.

Funds make intelligent asset allocation a cinch, providing expert and novice investors alike a vehicle for tilting in the direction of the market's raciest stocks without falling headlong into what we might call a "growth trap." Analyst estimates, after all, have a bad habit of evaporating on contact with reality, taking stock prices down with them, sometimes hard.

Reality-based investing
With well-chosen funds, you don't have to buy into some pie-in-the-sky corporate hype or place your bet on a "market catalyst" that may never materialize. Instead, you invest in a manager whose long-haul track record proves he or she has what it takes to separate spin from reality -- and to invest your hard-earned moola accordingly.

Not only that: The best fund managers know that, when a stock's price has outrun even the rosiest of growth scenarios, it's time to head for the exits. They don't fall in love with a stock's "story," in other words. They focus on fundamentals and make their buy -- and sell -- decisions accordingly.

Steal our homework
Those are precisely the kinds of funds I recommend each month to subscribers to the Fool's Champion Funds, an investing service designed to help you beat the market with funds. Not coincidentally, we've made a clutch of recommendations that can help you get the growth job done while getting a good night's sleep along the way. We've also cherry-picked the cream of the industry's value crop and from other areas, too, zeroing in on choice real estate, health-care, and fixed-income picks, for example. The upshot? Our list of recommendations has shellacked the broader market by nearly 10 percentage points as I type.

If you'd like to take a look at our list o' Champs -- as well as our members-only boards and model portfolios -- just click here for a 30-day guest pass and see if our service can help take the edge off growth investing. My hunch is that it will, but I encourage you to check it and see. The proof, as they say, is in the proverbial pudding.

Shannon Zimmerman runs point on the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service and co-advises GreenLight with his pal Dayana Yochim.At the time of publication, he didn't own any of the securities mentioned above. eBay, Yahoo, and Starbucks are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor pick. Coca-Cola is an Inside Value recommendation. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking right here.