The recommended daily intake is currently either 2 mg of beta-carotene (recommended by DGE, Germany, in addition to 1.0 (0.8) mg retinol-equivalents for vitamin A requirement) or 5-6 mg of beta-carotene (recommended by NCI, USA). The present studies were carried out to investigate to what extent a balanced diet prepared using household or cafeteria methods contributes to achieve the desired intake. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids in the total daily diet samples were determined by RP-HPLC. In addition to beta-carotene, in decreasing quantity lutein, alpha-carotene, antheraxanthin, lycopene, zeaxanthin, neoxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-cryptoxanthin and violaxanthin were estimated. The intake of beta-carotene (carotenoids) ranged from 0.2 to 9.7 mg/d (0.7-16.5 mg/d) with mean values (median) of 1.1 mg/d for beta-carotene and 3.9 mg/d for carotenoids based on results from investigations of 39 total daily diet samples. The recommended daily intake can only be achieved by consuming (100-200 g/d) of vegetables und fruits with a particularly high carotenoid content. Kale (34.8), red peppers (27.4), parsley (25.7), spinach (17.3), lamb's lettuce (16.0), carrots (15.8) and tomatoes (12.7) headed the list of vegetables with more than 10 mg/100 g. In the case of fruit, papayas (3.8), grapefruits (3.6), nectarines (2.9) and apricots (2.6) were pre-eminent with more than 2 mg/ 100 g. The results distinguish between provitamin A and non-provitamin A carotenoids. In addition the contents of beta-carotene and lutein are shown.