Between 500 and 600 U.S. school districts have instituted nutritional policies limiting foods deemed to be high in fat, salt and sugar. That's according to a research scientist at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The widespread curbing of snacks in school has some kids pining for the old days.

"I know obesity is a big problem, and it's good the school cares," high school senior Sam Cardoza told The New York Times recently. "At the same time, you shouldn't stop a kid from buying a cookie."

California's nutrition standards limit snacks sold in schools during the day to those that contain no more than 35 percent sugar, and that derive no more than 35 percent of their calories from fat. Sodas will be banned from schools beginning next year. Regulations such as those being implemented in California have brought traditions such as school bake sales and birthday celebrations to a screeching halt.

"I don't think all celebrations need to be around food," said Ann Cooper, the director of nutrition services for the Berkley School District. "We need to get past the mentality of food used for punishment or praise."

The reduction in calories at school does not mean, as some feared, that kids would rush home and raid the fridge. According to the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale, children do not compensate for the loss of sugar and fat-laden foods at school by increasing their intake of such goodies at home.

"People really do eat what's in front of them," explained center Deputy Director Marlene B. Schwartz.

Read more about the issue at nytimes.com.