Do you suffer from portfolio envy? Do you see a stock such as Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG), which has logged 130% annual growth this year, and kick yourself because it wasn't in your portfolio? Do you think of Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG), up more than 240% year to date, and wonder why you didn't invest in it?

Well, calm down. There's probably a simple explanation for why you never found these stocks: You don't spend most of each day studying the stock market. You don't scour annual reports and financial filings for a living. You are a regular person with a regular life.

But wait!
Fortunately, being a regular person with a regular life doesn't mean you're out of luck. You have options. One good way to own the fastest-growing stocks -- which I'm relying on more and more myself -- is mutual funds. By investing in funds, I let skilled professionals choose the most promising stocks they can find for me. And better still, they decide when to buy and when to sell, sparing me from having to keep up with lots of companies.

Let's look at an example of a fund that's allowed investors to own the fastest-growing stocks: Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX). According to Morningstar, the fund owns almost 6% of Chipotle. It also sports top holdings in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) (up 110%-plus year to date), Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) (up 140%-plus), and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (up nearly 50%). The fund owns about 0.5% of Intuitive Surgical, too, and has averaged market-beating 18% growth per year over the past five years.

The fund with the biggest chunk of Intuitive is American Funds Growth Fund of America (AGTHX), which has a five-year average annual return of 14.5% (also market-beating). Its top holdings recently included Nokia (NYSE:NOK) (which has doubled in 2007) and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) (up about 20%).

The downside
Should you snap up shares of these funds as soon as you can get to your checkbook? Not necessarily. For one thing, Fidelity Contrafund is currently closed to new investors (though closed funds sometimes reopen). And the Growth Fund of America features a hefty 5.75% front-end load, meaning that if you invest $5,000, you'll fork over nearly $300 in fees at the outset.

And just because a fund owns a lot of a super performers, that doesn't mean its other holdings are similarly golden. You need to be picky when choosing funds. Here's a good cheat sheet on how to be picky:

  1. You'll want funds with low expense ratios and, ideally, no sales loads.
  2. You'll want good managers, which you can determine by matching managerial tenure with the fund's long-term track record.
  3. You'll want a fund (and manager) with a consistent philosophy that you admire. (That is, if you're after a growth fund, it shouldn't have top holdings in slow-growing stalwarts.)

The majority of managed mutual funds out there actually underperform the market. So be choosy -- the time it takes to weed out the bad funds is well worth it.

The upside
Fortunately, it is possible to find such funds. You can do so yourself; use the three things above as a starting point for research. is a wonderful place to do a lot of digging.

Here's another approach I recommend (because I do it myself): Check out our Motley Fool Champion Funds newsletter service. It arrives each month with fund recommendations and updates, and it educates you along the way about finding your own fund winners. You can try it out for free for a month, during which time you'll have full access to all past issues, so you can read about every recommendation in detail -- with no obligation. The newsletter's recommendations are handily outperforming their respective benchmarks.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Intuitive Surgical, which, along with Chipotle Mexican Grill, is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Chipotle is also a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. The Motley Fool isFools writing for Fools.